Birsa Munda Stadium: All you need to know about India's largest hockey stadium 

The stadium is being raised in Rourkela, one the co-hosts of the 2023 Men's Hockey World Cup 
By Soham Mukherjee

India are set to host the 2023 edition of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup, after successfully organising it in 2018.

This will be for the fourth time that India will lay down the welcome mat for the marquee event to take place. It previously hosted in Mumbai (1982), New Delhi (2010) and Odisha (2018).

The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar will be one of the two venues while the other is being constructed at Rourkela within the Sundergarh district of Odisha. Significantly, it is set to be the country's biggest hockey stadium when the construction is complete.

It has been named after the tribal leader Birsa Munda as the ‘Birsa Munda Worldwide Hockey Stadium‘. In fact, Jaipal Singh Munda, a fellow tribal member of Birsa, led India in the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928, which started the run of eight consecutive gold medals in the Olympics.

Here's all you need to know about the state-of-the-art stadium that is being built by the Government of Odisha.

Significance of the venue

The Odisha government has put much thought into the choice of location.

The Sundergarh district is regarded as one of the hotbeds of budding hockey talents in India and has produced legends like former India skipper Dilip Tirkey.

The stadium will provide a much-needed boost to the hockey infrastructure of the place paving the way for future stars who can grace the national team. 

The costliest hockey stadium in India

When FIH spelt out the requirement of two host cities, it meant a second one needed to be built within Odisha. That prompted the government to allot INR 120 crores for the project. 15 acres of land has already been allocated for the project and the responsibility to build this sporting colosseum has fallen over Industrial Growth Company (IDCO).

“The Authorities of Odisha has assigned us to assemble a world-class stadium for the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 within the given timeline of 12 months,” Sanjay Kumar Singh, IDCO’s chairman cum managing director, told Times of India.

There will be a tunnel that will connect the dressing room and practice pitch within the stadium complex. A separate fitness center and hydrotherapy pool will be built around the practice pitch.

When will it be inaugurated? 

The stadium will be inaugurated in June 2022, six months prior to the World Cup which is slated to take place in January 2023. 

"Come June 2022, it [Rourkela] will be ready to proudly showcase the Birsa Munda International Stadium to the world," stated Vishal K Dev, principal secretary, sports and youth services department, Odisha. 

The capacity of the stadium

The stadium boasts of 20,000 seating capacity. 

"The Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium is a fresh development. It is designed with an ultra-modern facility offering one of the finest experiences to the spectators, said Singh. 

Ancilliary developments around the stadium

A total budget of INR 470 crore has been allocated to upgrade, develop and market the city of Rourkela. 

The Rourkela airport will be made functional once again for the benefit of teams and fans. The airport currently has a licence that allows flight operations for a 19-seater plane, which needs to be reviewed and upgraded. 

A plethora of hotels will be constructed and two of them will be exclusively reserved for the FIH World Cup. 

A sum of around INR 105 crores has been earmarked for tourism while a similar amount has been kept aside for the development of smart roads. 

Apart from that INR 140 crore will be spent on restoration and beautification, including the famous Panposh market under the Rourkela Municipal Corporation.