Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium was inaugurated on December 17, 1956, by the then Governor of Kerala Dr. B Ramakrishna Rao. Its inauguration came just over a month after the birth of the Kerala state and was meant to be a prominent venue for football matches in the country. The stadium was named after N Chandrasekharan Nair, who was the first Inspector General of the newly formed Kerala Police. In 1962, the stadium hosted the All India Police Meet.
Chandrasekaran Nair stadium became one of the few stadiums in the country to boast of flood light facility when the then Home Minister Vayalar Ravi switched on the lights on September 3, 1984. The stadium got its second tier gallery in 1986, which was completed in a record time of 125 days and inaugurated by the then Chief Minister K Karunakaran.
With a total capacity of over 20,000, it used to be placed in the list of important stadiums in India. But over the years, this historic stadium has been on a downward spiral, and now finds itself misplaced in the midst of the bustling city that has grown all around it.
At present, the District Football Association is in dire straits and is desperately trying to hold enough matches to stay on the national league. One of the main reasons (for what?) that the officials point out is the lack of a stadium to hold the football matches. Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium does not get listed as a venue even for conducting the minor league amateur matches. Evenings at the stadium still do see players practicing football, but to an area restricted to a small portion, as the rest of the place would be reserved for holding mass events of all kinds.
The stadium belongs to the Kerala Police and is most commonly referred to as the 'Police Stadium'. But the concerned officials seem more interested in making money through renting out the stadium and grounds to conduct food fests, exhibitions, award nights, religious gatherings and even to commando trainings, but never to hold sporting events. Renting out the ground for carrying out sporting events would only bring in a nominal fee. Public programs and live events bring in an amount many times that.
The entire stadium lies dismantled right now– the ground, the track around it and the gallery. No games could be held at the stadium even if a decision were to be made in that respect, because of the badly tampered condition of the ground resulting from the extensive public functions taking place here. A bigger threat of the stadium itself getting swallowed by a city desperately seeking land also exists as a real issue. Already, a part of the gallery stands lost to the road built as part of the construction of the Palayam Underpass. The second tier gallery can never be constructed around the stadium, as originally planned, for the same reason.
After a spell of drought in developmental activities, the stadium finally seemed set to receive the renovation it urgently needed when it was included as a venue for the 35th National Games. Along with being used as a warm up stadium, it was also scheduled to hold cycle, polo and squash events. The renovation works were to be carried out at an estimated cost of Rs.2.8 crores and was set to be completed by March 2011.
However, bad news soonfollowed when it was announced that the stadium was to be taken out of the venue list for the National Games and was to be used solely for warm-up purpose. While the University Stadium, just a stone's throw away from Chandrasekharan Nair stadium, got synthetic tracks, improved facilities and a green carpet, Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium remained largely excluded from any major developmental works. With the exclusion from the venue list, the proposed renovation project is now limited to building synthetic tracks, clearing and re-arranging of drains, improving toilet facilities and flooring and painting work.
It seems that the fate of Chandrsekharan Nair Stadium, which held huge ambitions and desires at the time of its inception, is to remain as a venue to conduct public gatherings. It is highly unlikely that the stadium would ever get to the glory of being a top level sports venue the way it was originally meant to be, with the threat of being ingested by a land hungry city looming large over it.