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By A Newsman

Malda, 15 July: TRYING to belittle its own heroes and celebrities is an age old malady of Bengal!

South Dinajpur district in north Bengal remained witness to the latest addition to this on Saturday. The Maharaja of Kolkata, former Indian cricket team skipper Sourav Ganguly’s statue could not be installed at Balurghat Stadium following an objection from the district administration.

That too when Ganguly was invited to Balurghat by the District Sports Authority to unveil the statue, and honouring the request, he reached the town by train today morning. Ganguly, an all-time successful Indian cricket captain, is now the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal.

DSA secretary Gautam Goswami said that they were compelled to call off the installation after the district administration sent a letter yesterday raising objection. The communiqué read that Sourav’s statue should not be installed at the stadium as it was a government premises and necessary permission was not taken for this.

DSA had planned to install the statue at the gate of the stadium and it would not have caused trouble to any sporting activity.

As a face saver, DSA finally made Sourav unveil his statue by placing it on a makeshift podium at the stadium. Thousands of people were witness to this at Balurghat Stadium. The statue would now remain locked in a godown until the authorities could resolve the matter.

Understandably, Sourav was embarrassed by the turn of events, although he dealt with the situation as sportingly ever. Asked repeatedly by reporters as what would happen to his statue if the district administration does not relent, the former skipper said it should be sent to his house then.

“I have no resentment due to what has happened. If no place is found to install the statue, let them send it to my house in Kolkata. I have plenty of space to keep it there,” the Maharaja said.

District magistrate Sanjay Basu refused to offer an explanation behind the administration’s move. “Suffice it to say that Ganguly’s visit to Balughat was not an official one,” he said. Sources said that  political differences between the office bearers of DSA and the Trinamool ruled state government was behind the move.