World Cup fever hots up:
Colombo set for cricket extravaganza
The countdown for the biggest cricketing event in the world has
begun. Within five days the entire South Asian region will boom with
cricket fans as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will co-host the 10th
ICC Cricket World Cup to be unfolded in Bangladesh on February 17 with
the opening ceremony to be held at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in
For the 12 matches that are to be played in Sri Lanka, R. Premadasa
International Cricket Stadium, Colombo, Mahinda Rajapaksa International
Cricket Stadium in Hambantota and Muttiah Muralitharan International
Cricket Stadium in Pallekele, Kandy are busy preparing to host the
matches under maximum facilities made available to both cricketers and
Out of the 12 matches that are to be played in Sri Lanka, seven
matches including two quarter final matches are to be played at the R.
Preamadasa International cricket stadium with the participation of
maximum possible cricket fans with the arrival of more than 15,000
It will be the venue for the matches Sri Lanka vs Pakistan on
February 26, Sri Lanka Vs Kenya on March 1, Pakistan Vs Canada on March
3, Sri Lanka Vs Australia on March 5, Pakistan Vs Australia on March 19
and two quarter final matches on March 24 and 29.
It was not only the stadium, that has to be ready for the event but
also the host city and the surrounding of the stadium that has to be
ready for the event, if the event is to be successful.
The Colombo Municipal Council also shares a big responsibility in
improving the area surrounding the R. Premadasa International Cricket
Stadium. Special Commissioner of the CMC, Omar Kamil said they have
deployed its workforce of the Municipal Engineering Department to make
the area look good to the cricket fans during the season.
"Like the way the CMC undertaken the project to beautify the city
during IIFA the CMC has undertaken this project for the ICC world cup as
a hosting city", he said.
When Sri Lanka Cricket is busy with improvements to the stadium and
the pavilion the CMC officials and the workers are busy putting the
final touches to upgrade the access road and the surrounding of the R.
According to be special commissioner the CMC has undertaken to
reconstruct rehabilitate and resurface roads around the stadium. "The
road stretch of Dr. Tito Babapulle Mawatha, Maligawatta Place, Bodhiraja
Mawatha and Samadhi Mawatha are being reconstructed and resurfaced to
facilitate the hosting the ICC world cup matches at cost of nearly Rs.50
million", he said.
According to Kamil the improvement of the access roads to the stadium
are being done with the increase of the capacity of the stadium to
accommodate from 18,000 to 30,000 spectators with the new improvements
to the stadium.
"The CMC has been given the responsibility for the Municipal
Engineers Department and all the Divisions of the Municipal Engineering
Departments to ensure that the city will have a new look during this
season", Kamil added.
According to Vishaka Dias, Deputy Commissioner Engineering Services
of the CMC they have undertaken improvement of the roads around
"Out of that the CMC is funding for the development of Bodhiraja
Mawatha, Tito Babapulle Mawatha, Kettarama Temple road ,Maligawatta
The other roads are actually new constructions. We were not
maintaining those roads but those roads were there and we are developing
them at the request of the Sri Lanka Cricket to facilitate the large
number of cricket fans arriving at the stadium for matches", she added.
The road running along the canal adjoining the stadium is included in
the project to open up new exit points for the stadium.
"Subsequent to these new road development we are opening a new road
via Tito Babapulle Mawatha, going upto P.D. Sirisena Mawatha. In other
words any one from Maligawatta can go upto Orugodawatta junction
bypassing the Baseline road section at Samantha cinema", she said.
The Land Reclamation and Development Board is assisting the project
by dredging the canal and relaying the canal banks whilst Sri Lanka
Cricket is funding the construction of the road.
According to Director Traffic of the CMC, Nihal Wickremesinghe, with
these new developments parking area will also be opened around the
"We are developing parking sites at Maligawatta. This will open up
parking for more than 150 vehicles apart from the existing parking", he
The road stretch of Bodhiraja Mawatha which is leading from the
Premadasa stadium to Baseline road which has been used as a site for
vehicle and three-wheeler repairs will also be made available for
"We are going to have a foot-path for safe pedestrian movement along
this road to discipline the pedestrians", he added.
M.H.M. Fazal, Director Works of the CMC said that they have committed
its workforce giving priority for the completion of the project by
The workers deployed for the Galle Road development project has also
been deployed for this project to expedite the project.
Apart from developing the area around R.Premadasa stadium the CMC
will also beautify the city to suit the event by cleaning and
beautifying the access roads to the stadium.
The Green Path Night Fiesta will also be held on the dates of the
matches being played at the R.Premadasa Stadium at the Green Path
enabling the cricket fans who could not go to the stadium to watch the
match with live entertainment programs and food outlets at the Night
"We thought that there will be large crowds visiting Sri Lanka during
this period. We have fixed the night fiesta on the days matches are
played in Colombo with giant screen where the matches will be telecast
live", Special Commissioner Kamil added.
"We are ready to get the sponsorship of Sampath Bank which has agreed
to put up a giant screen at the venue so that people can watch the match
and entertain themselves during the season", Kamil added.
He said that the night fiesta will be held on the day the finals will
be played in India on April 2, enabling the people to have a live
experience of the World Cup finals.