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Buddh International Circuit to be used as a Quarantine Facility for COVID-19 patients

Buddh International Circuit has been going through some financial hurdles with YEIDA (Yamuna Expressway Industrial Developmental Authority)

Greater Noida: The administration of Gautam Buddh Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh has decided to convert Buddh International Circuit (BIC) — India’s first and only Formula One racetrack — as a quarantine facility for patients of COVID-19 aka corona virus. The decision was made as a result of lakhs of migrant labourers trying to reach Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from Delhi, at the same time when the Union Home Ministry started sealing district borders.

Owing to this, the local administration has taken up the responsibility to provide food and shelter for the migrants. Owned by Jaypee Group, BIC is part of a larger 5000 acre Jaypee Sports City located beside the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida. It was only recently that YEIDA (Yamuna Expressway Industrial Developmental Authority) temporarily closed the facility on accounts of unpaid dues summing up to more Rs 600 crore — read more details.

BIC quarantine corona virus

YEIDA has been given proper directions to set up the essential medical facilities at Jaypee Sports City with respect to provisions under Chapter 12, Uttar Pradesh Pandemic COVID-19 Guidelines, 2020. The initial plan is to keep a certain number of refugees (permissible by the availability of equipment and resources) until 14 April 2020, which is the end-date of India’s corona virus lockdown. Adequate measures will be followed if the lockdown is extended further.

BIC is just one of around 20 largescale facilities in and around Gautam Buddh Nagar that will be converted to temporary quarantine or shelter locations. Work has already begun at these locations while the country as a whole is taking all necessary steps to confine the outbreak and ‘flatten the curve’. Rakesh Chauhan, District Information Officer, shared that a total of 7,000 people would be accommodated across 28 facilities across the district.

Coming back to BIC, there are many reasons why it could not continue on the F1 calendar. One of them is the UP government’s exorbitant taxation. As per the authorities in concern, hosting such a prestigious motoring sport ‘will not aid any development in the field of Indian sports activities’. For the same reason, 2011, 2012, 2013 Indian GP seasons were taxed as an entertainment programme rather than sports.

Despite hosting the sport for just three seasons, the Indian GP could witness the participation of many iconic drivers including Michael Schumacher for Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton, the current (and six-time) Formula One World Champion made a shift from McLaren (2011-12) to Mercedes (2013). However, all three Indian GP instalments were won by Sebastian Vettel for Redbull Racing.

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