SHILLONG | Sept 12, 2019:
Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma today came to the rescue of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Banteidor Lyngdoh after he repeatedly dodged the questions put forth by the Mawsynram Congress legislator, Himalaya Shangpliang.
The Mawsynram Congress legislator, during the Question Hour on the fifth day of the Autumn Session, asked the Minister how much fund had been spent during the year 2018-2019 for construction of stadiums.
“This is totally a different question,” replied the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister. Reacting to this, Shangpliang said that if the Minister does not answer then he can provide the answer.
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According to the Mawsynram Congress legislator, the department had spent Rs 10.83 crore during 2018-2019 for construction of stadiums whereas only Rs 43 lakh was spent to provide financial assistance for sports association in the State and Sub-Divisional level.
He questioned the disparity and asked as to why so much stress was given for construction of stadiums. In his reply, Banteidor said that he will look into it.
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Meghalaya Chief Minister, who had to intervene, informed that an amount of only Rs 29 lakh was sanctioned during 2015-2016 to provide financial assistance to the various sports’ associations adding that another Rs 29,000 was sanctioned during 2016-2017 but nothing was sanctioned during 2017-2018.
“The State Government in 2018-2019 had increased the funds to Rs 49 lakh. Even in this current year, we are trying to increase it. This has been the trend for a long time. It is a matter of concern and we have met the different organisations to find out ways on how to support them,” Conrad said.
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The MLA from Mawsynram further questioned whether it is fact that 10 athletes are being paid Rs 3.95 paisa per day, Banteidor said that this is a new question and requires notice. “The Minister should know about this,” said Shangpliang while showing the press clippings.
Agitated by not getting a direct reply from the Minister, Shangpliang further stated that the Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA) had selected 15 athletes to participate in the upcoming National Games in the State who have prospects to win medal. “These athletes have been deputed for an intense training outside the State. The MSOA had applied for funds from the department,” the Mawsynram Congress legislator stated.
Banteidor, who looked clueless while replying, told the House that the matter is examined and he does not have the actual figure which the MSOA had projected.
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Again, the Meghalaya Chief Minister had to intervene and told the House that the MSOA had proposed a projected amount of Rs 41 crore for the next three years.
“The department is examining it since it is a huge figure meant for 18 disciplines. The MSOA had projected 18 crore for 2018-2019, 11 crores for 2019-2020, another Rs 11 crore for 2020-2021 and Rs 11 crores for 2021-2022,” Conrad said.
Informing that they are examining the matter on how to move forward, he said that it is a huge projection for the entire preparation of the sports persons of the State for the upcoming National Games to be held in the State in 2022.
He said that the East Zone Junior Athletics Championship is going on now at Ranchi from September 10 till 13.
Continuing with his questions, Shangpliang said that the State athletes had missed a chance to go to this championship because the department was sitting over the requirement fund.
The Mawsynram MLA further added that on October 10, the national open athletic championship is being held at Bengalaru.
“I would like to know, are we going to miss this event again,” Shangpliang asked.
In his reply, the Sports Minister said “I would like to thank the MLA from Mawsynram for his concern for the sports persons since once upon a time he (Shangpliang) was the director of sports department. But I want to tell in the floor of the House that I am a sports person. I love sports from the bottom of my heart. I am trying to streamline the department.”
He further stated that he will try his best to ensure that the team participate in Ranchi along with the coaches,” the Sports Minister said.
Reacting to this, Shangpliang that the event at Ranchi is over. The Minister was quick to response this time round by stating that either for Bengaluru or any other competition, the State will definitely participate.
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Meghalaya Chief Minister, however, clarified that the State team are participating in the event at Ranchi.
Shangpliang took a dig at the Sports Minister for not being aware of the ongoing development in his department. “The Minister does not know that the team has gone to participate in the event,” said Shangpliang.