Govt assures to increase sports budget to ` 100 crore

DIPR IMPHAL, 25th Feb: Chief minister N Biren has assured to increase the annual budget of Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS) to Rs 100 crore in the 2019-20 fiscal for further development and promotion of sports in the state.

Speaking as chief guest of the Shannaroishinggi Numit (sportspersons' day) organised by Department of Youth Affairs and Sports at Khuman Lampak Main Stadium Sunday, Biren expressed hope that a sizeable hike in the budget estimate would enable development of sports infrastructure and hiring of competent coaches from other states and foreign countries.

Stating that he is suspicious of the manner of utilising the Rs 100 crore sanctioned under 13th Finance Commission for the development of Main Stadium and Hockey Stadium of Khuman Lampak, the chief minister said that an independent body would be entrusted to probe the matter soon.

Urging associations of different sports disciplines to communicate with the government before taking the players to other states for participation in different championships and tournaments, Biren said that the government would try to clear at least half of the entitled financial assistance in advance for the convenience of players and associations.

The chief minister further said he is concerned about the inconvenience faced by players while travelling in trains and asked the associations to properly plan travelling, fooding and lodging in advance.

Encouraging the players to put in more effort to bring laurels for the state and the country, the chief minister also announced to hike the cash incentives for the national level competitions from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.

He further said that daily allowance of the players who take part in the national level competitions would be increased from Rs 200 to Rs 500. The state cabinet would take a decision in this regard at the earliest, Biren announced on the occasion.

He said that the government is currently awarding Rs 1 crore to Olympic gold medallists, Rs 75 lakh to silver medallists, Rs 50 lakh to bronze medallist and Rs 25 lakh to participants.

Informing that the government has also begun awarding cash prize of Rs 20 lakh to Gold medal winners at international tournaments, Biren said that Mirabai Chanu was recently awarded with the said amount. He also said that flood lighting facility would soon be installed at Khuman Lampak Main Stadium and astro-turf would be laid at four football grounds at different parts of the state.

The Chief Minister also mentioned about the importance of discipline and extra efforts in the players’ quest for achieving success in games and sports.

Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Letpao Haokip and YAS secretary Bobby Waikhom also attended the function as president and guest of honour respectively.

In his speech, Letpao Haokip said that February 25 is organised as Shannaroishinggi Numit every year in commemoration of the precious day on which Manipur was declared the winner of the prestigious Raja Bhalendra Singh overall team championship trophy in the 5thNational Games held in Manipur in 1999.

It is a matter of pride that the State occupies an important place in the field of games and sports in the country, he said, while acknowledging that it is because of the hard work and strong determination of the players.

Stating that lack of infrastructure and other problems had never dampened the spirit of the sportspersons of the state, the YAS minister said that the present government is committed to enhance the sports infrastructure. New infrastructures would be developed not only in the state capital but also in all the districts with funds from NLCPR, NEC, State Budget and Khelo India programme, he added.

Government officials, members and executives of different sports associations and players also attended the function.

Later, the chief minister flagged off a run organised as part of the celebration.

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