Imphal, February 25: Chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh has assured to increase the annual budget of Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS) to Rs 100 crore in the 2019-20 fiscal year, on Shannaroishinggi Numit organised by YAS department at Khuman Lampak main stadium today.
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, he added.
Stating that the government is ready to provide jobs to all the state players who are currently working outside the state, the Biren urged them to return to the state. He said the government is currently awarding Rs 1 crore to Olympic gold medallists, Rs. 75 lakh to silver medallists, Rs. 50 lakh to broze medallist and Rs. 25 lakh to Olympic participants. The state has also begun awarding a cash prize of Rs. 20 lakh to Gold medal winners at International tournaments. Mirabai Chanu had been recently awarded the said amount recently, added the chief minister.
Biren said that a sizeable hike in the budget estimate would enable development of sports infrastructure and hiring of competent coaches from other states and countries. He said he is suspicious of past misutilisation of Rs 100 crore sanctioned under 13th Finance Commission for the development of Khuman Lampak Main Stadium and Khuman Lampak Hockey Stadium. He said, “An independent body would be entrusted to probe the matter soon”. He 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.
Saying that he is concerned about the inconvenience faced by players while travelling in trains, he asked the associations to properly plan for travelling, fooding and lodging in advance. Biren said that flood lighting facility would soon be installed at Khuman Lampak main stadium and astro-turf would be laid at four football grounds of the state soon. He also mentioned about the importance of discipline and extra efforts in the players’ quest for achieving success in games and sports. Expressing concern over drug menace currently witnessed in the state, the chief minister asked the players and youths to extend support to the government’s ‘War on Drugs’ campaign.
YAS minister 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 5th National 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 adding that it is because of the hard work and strong determination of the players. New infrastructures would be developed not only in the state capital but also in all the districts with the funds from NLCPR, NEC, state budget and Khelo India programme, he added. The minister also flagged off a run organised as part of the Shannaroishinggi Numit celebration.