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Sports dept yet to get ball rolling on host of projects

Sports dept yet to get ball rolling on host of projects

13 Mar 2018 No comment 2 hits

Edited. 430 words.
Panaji: Sports is not a prized portfolio and doesn’t figure prominently during budget allocations. Yet, every time a new government takes charge and portfolios are set to be allotted, there is a queue for the post of sports minister.

When Manohar Parrikar got the MGP and Goa Forward Party to support him as the chief minister, he had to do a balancing act. The MGP, GFP and even his own BJP had many with ‘sporting’ ambitions. Eventually, it was Manohar ‘Babu’ Azgaonkar who took the cake, and having been the sports minister in the past, he knew how it would taste.

This term was all about the National Games and the projects that were scheduled. The man who took the Sports City to Pernem – his own constituency – and left it unattended for an entire term, is now in a tearing hurry to get the infrastructure in place for the National Games 2018. It’s taken him a year to put out the first tender.

“The state government is determined to have the National Games on schedule. We are tendering three projects today (Tuesday),” said V M Prabhu Desai, director of sports and youth affairs.

The three projects include the Sawalwada multipurpose indoor stadium, Pernem (approximate cost Rs 40 crore), hockey facility at Peddem sports complex, Mapusa (Rs 12 crore) and refurbishment of the multipurpose indoor stadium, Campal (Rs 25 crore).

Several other projects are yet to take off. There is no word on the squash facility at the Chicalim sports complex. The proposed multipurpose indoor stadium at Navelim has been mired in controversy and work on the tennis courts at Fatorda and a cycling velodrome, also at Fatorda, is unlikely to see light of the day anytime soon.

The government, though, has been successful in clearing a backlog of schemes and awards. The Bakshi Bahaddar Jivbadada Kerkar Awards, the highest recognition for sports in Goa, were finally handed over to deserving sportspersons and organisers after an agonising 15-year wait. Successive governments and chief ministers had dragged their feet, but Azgaonkar put together a team that not just shortlisted names but also came up with new guidelines.

Azgaonkar also deserves credit for clearing the dues of 64 sportspersons who were beneficiaries of the Financial Assistance to Sportspersons in Indigent Circumstances. For more than a year, deserving sportspersons were left in the lurch.

“This has been an eventful year for Goan sports,” said Prabhu Desai, explaining how the government has helped clubs and associations with crores of rupees while sportspersons can now avail of flight tickets if they are participating in national events in the distant Northeast.

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Source: Sports dept yet to get ball rolling on host of projects

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