Kolkata, (Agencies): Kolkata’s Eden gardens will not see Indian players trampling its turf during the biggest championship in cricket- ICC cricket World Cup as this iconic stadium was stripped off an all important India-England due to its poor preparedness and yes, the Eden is sad and has quite.

However, all is not lost yet. A workforce of 1,600 is straining every nerve to ready the stadium ensuring that Kolkata fans can get pleasure from the remaining three non-India matches.
These workers, mostly from eastern India, are working day and night. As long as the restoration work continues at Eden, they will have a regular income - and perhaps a golden chance to catch glimpse of their favorite stars.

“Heard that the matches will start next month. Hope the work continues so we get to see some matches for free," Arshaddul, 17, quipped, standing on a scaffolding with a sackload of sand on his head.

Although a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) official totals of workers at 1,600, the labourers say there are many more involved.

"There are 100 painters, over 250 masons and more than 1,000 helpers. Then there are scores of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, welders and other helpers. We have around 3,000 people working here," said Biswanath Basak, a painter.

The bulk of workers are from the rural areas of West Bengal while some have come from Bihar and Orissa. The workers, who work in two shifts of five hours each with an hour-long interval, are paid anything from Rs.130 to Rs.300 per day, depending on the nature of work.

The past few weeks have been tight for them as the stadium was supposed to be ready by the end of January. The workers report for work as early as 7 a.m. while at night, some say, the grind goes on well past 10 p.m.

"A few days ago I saw a man - who others said was a big shot - shouting at the supervisors and engineers, telling them to get the job done quickly," said a mason from Samastipur, Bihar.

The ICC has, after all, decided that Eden was not prepared to hold the Feb 27 India-England tie. For the remaining three matches - South Africa-Ireland March 15, the Netherlands-Ireland March 18, Zimbabwe-Kenya March 20 - the CAB has ticked off the contractor to get into action and get the stadium ready.

A welder who had just climbed down from the roof for his lunch, said he was afraid of heights. "But what can I do? I have five mouths to feed at home. It's my job. I have to do it. If I don't they will get others to do it."

The labourers state there have been several incidents of workers getting injured, either falling off from a height or building material falling on them. But the authorities refuse to confirm it.

All the workers are tied with the same thread of poverty.

"I was a farmer. I had land of my own. But the flood and the money lender took everything away. The only thing I was left with was my starving family," said Srihari, a labourer from Madhepura, Bihar.

Many others too have been forced to come to this city, far away from home, in search of a livelihood. And they are the ones working out hard to ensure that Eden lives up to its past glory.