By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Union Minister of State in charge of Sports and Youth Affairs Ajay Maken has set a fresh deadline for the completion of the Special Areas Games (SAG) Centre of the Sports Authority of India at NEHU campus.
Maken expressed his disappointment at the delay and said he has asked the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) to complete the project by March-April next year.
“We had earlier set a deadline to complete the project by October this year. But due to various factors, the CPWD could not complete the project as per the given deadline,” Maken said while speaking to reporters after inspecting the construction site at NEHU on Wednesday.
Maken added that he has instructed the Director General of SAI to release the remaining funds that have been sanctioned to allow the CPWD to speed up the project.
According to the minister, a total amount of Rs 42.6 crore has been earmarked for the project of which a Rs 30 crore has already been released.
“There is no paucity of funds in the Ministry. Our main concern is the early completion of the project,” the minister said.
He said that he would like to inaugurate the project on his next visit.
When asked whether he is happy with the progress of the project so far, Maken said that as compared to his first visit, he is pretty satisfied with the way things are moving.
According to Maken, the sports centre in NEHU will be the “game changer” in the region which will not only benefit the youth from the state but will also cater to the needs of the neighbouring states as well.
He, however, pointed out that the SAG in NEHU needs to have a Scientific Sports Centre to be able to produce athletes who would be able to contest at the international level.
“Unless such facilities are in place, the state would be producing athletes who would be good only at the national level. I have suggested that the region should have the Scientific Sports Centre and I am ready to allocate any amount of funds for the purpose,” Maken said.
“We are targeting to get 25 medals from the 2020 Olympic. We are expecting 15 medals from the athletes in the region,” he said
Admitting that a lack of coaches is a major concern, Maken said that the government is all set to recruit 200 coaches all over the country, with preference for athletes who have represented the country at the Olympics.
He added that the planning commission has agreed to increase the allocation for developing sports by 60-70 per cent.