Describing sports as an inseparable part of education, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Sunday said the focus on extra-curricular activities should be realistic and not a mere symbolic exercise. He said adequate funds, over and above the normal allocation, have been provided to the Youth Services & Sports Department for restoration of flood-damaged sports infrastructure. “Our children are blessed with great talent. It is imperative that the heads of the educational institutions provide them a platform to display their skills,” he said while stressing upon making games an essential part of the curriculum. The Chief Minister was addressing a large gathering of people and sports lovers, after inaugurating the South Kashmir Sports Festival, at Government Degree College for Boys, here today. Also present on the occasion were Minister for Horticulture, Hajj and Auqaf, A. R. Veeri, Minister for IT, Youth Services & Sports, Imran Raza Ansari, Minister of State for PHE, I&FC, Abdul Majeed Padder, Member Parliament, Nazir Ahmad Laway, Legislators, Farooq Andrabi, Gulzar Ahmad, Abdul Rahim Rather and Altaf Kaloo, Vice Chairman, J&K Wakf Board, Peer Mohammad Hussain, PDP South Coordinator, Mufti Sajad, noted cricketer and member of India A team, Pervez Rasool and former captain of Indian Women’s football team, Sona Chaudhary from Haryana. Stating that a healthy mind rests only in a healthy body, the Chief Minister emphasized upon the importance of sports in overall personality development of our children. He said the government has made a new beginning by restructuring the State Sports Council by giving representation to those who have excelled in various sporting disciplines. “Sports has received the least attention and our capacities have been severely under-utilized. I have ordered immediate restoration of playgrounds and playfields so that these are used for organizing inter-school, inter-college and inter-district sporting activities,” he said. The Chief Minister observed that we need to create a very conducive and healthy atmosphere in sports arena so that we can produce many more Pervez Rasools. He asked the Sports Minister to revive the hustle and bustle of playgrounds by formulating a sports itinerary that is strictly adhered to. “I have studied in the Government Degree College Anantnag and I desire that the college management make it a vibrant centre of sporting activities,” he stated, while laying stress on active involvement of Deputy Commissioners in all sports-related programmes in their respective districts. The South Kashmir Sports Festival, being organized by J&K Police, will be a 15-day event, in which participants from the four districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam will compete with each other in various sporting disciplines including cricket, soccer, volleyball, kho kho and badminton. The Chief Minister complimented the J&K Police Department for organizing the tourney, inspite of the challenges they face on the law-and-order and security front. Speaking on the occasion, the Sports Minister said the Chief Minister has flagged promotion of sports as a major priority area. He said sports festivals, like the one being held here, will be organized in other parts of the state also. “The funds provided to us in addition to our allocation are being utilized for immediate restoration of sports infrastructure,” he said while assuring the Chief Minister of taking big strides in reviving the sports culture in the state.
2015 Kashmir Despatch