Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Friday said the special package of Rs.200 crore from the Central government for development of sports infrastructure will help nurture talent and rekindle desire amongst our youth and children to excel in the ever-growing world of sports. He said the present government has restructured the sports’ governing body and stressed upon incorporating games as an essential component of the educational curricula. “With the money provided by the Centre, we will be able to instil a sporting culture and groom raw talent so that our playgrounds reverberate with sports activities where our boys and girls compete against each other,” he stated. The Chief Minister was addressing a large gathering of schoolchildren after inaugurating the 61stNational School Games in Football, here at Bakshi Stadium today. As many as 29 teams and 500 schoolchildren from all over the country are participating in the week-long National Games. Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister for IT, YS&S and Technical Education, Imran Raza Ansari and Union Sports Secretary, Rajiv Yadav were also present on the occasion. Laying stress on the revival of sports, Mufti Sayeed highlighted the colossal damage suffered by sports-related infrastructure during the past two-and-a-half decades in the state. “I have already ordered framing of a sports calendar for schools, college and district levels tournaments so that our sports-persons are provided the right platform to display their talent,” he said, while referring to the measures taken by the department to repair and renovate the playgrounds that were damaged in the floods of last year. Asserting that once the special package is released by the Union Government the Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar and MAM Stadium will be upgraded to global standards so that national and international tournaments are held on a regular basis. He, however, said the creation of sports facilities take time as it involves formulation of detailed project reports. Referring to diversification of tourism-related activities in winter destinations like Gulmarg and Pahalgam, Mufti Sayeed urged young boys and girls to take up sports like skiing and skating, in which J&K has excelled and won laurels at national at international levels. “We have also great potential in water sports like canoeing and river rafting’” he added. Speaking on the occasion, Sonowal promised adequate thrust on creating and upgrading infrastructure for which Rs.200 crore will be provided to the state. “Out of this Rs.88 crore will be provided for upgradation of facilities at the Bakshi Stadium and M.A.M. Stadium in the two capital cities. Another Rs.62 crore will be provided for upgradation of stadiums and indoor halls in 12 districts of the state in the first phase,” he added. He said an additional Central assistance of Rs. 60 crore will be provided to J&K over a period of next five years for promotion of sports activities in the state. He said with the augmentation of the sports-related infrastructure, he will look forward to J&K contributing its talent to the national teams. Also present were Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Hassan Samoon, Commissioner / Secretary, YS&S, Hirdesh Kumar, ADGP, Security, V. K. Singh, Director General, YS&S, Jahangir Mir, IGP, Kashmir Zone, SJM Gillani and Secretary Sports Council, Javed Ahmad Shah.
2015 Kashmir Despatch