‘Capital expenditure for sports is very less’
Srinagar, Sep 27: Amid disquiet among youth due to the prevailing conflict, the government expects that sports can be used as a tool to “extinguish the brewing anger”.
PDP Minister for Youth Services and Sports Imran Ansari said youth in Kashmir are in distress and there are no major avenues to engage them.
“Well, definitely sports can be one of the tools that can extinguish the anger that is brimming in the youth. I feel that the youth in Kashmir are in distress and there are no major avenues to engage them. Youth services and sports can provide them some platforms where youth can utilize their precious time in different sporting activities which they love, can deviate their minds from their problems and pessimistic miseries. Sports have a role of deviating factor in the prevailing political discontent in the state,” Ansari said in an interview with The Kashmir Magazine.
The Minister said that the government is increasing promotion of sports among youth by contact programmes and taking sports activities at the doorsteps of the youth across the state.
“Through mass advertising and one-to-one contacts we have been encouraging the youth to join the sports disciplines they love. The department of youth services and sports is ready to provide them all the facilities. The devastating 2014 floods have almost cent per cent damaged the sporting facilities in the valley. Whatever minimum fa¬cilities we have we are upgrading them and building new ones,” he said in reply to a question.
He said that the sports ministry is utilizing the Prime Minister’s Development Package for upgrading and rebuilding sports infrastructure in the state.
“We got Prime Minister’s Development package that comprises of upgrading two major stadiums in the state. The upgradation of these two stadiums amongst others is going on and will take some time before they will be handed over to the respective associ-ations. The facilities in the form of in¬frastructure and services are not up to the mark as seen in the rest of the country,” he said.
The minister said that the budget spending on sports infrastructure development and activities is not as per the need.
“The capex (capital expenditure) for the sports is very less. When we talk about engaging youth and providing sports facilities I don’t know what the previous regimes were up to. I have six odd crore rupees for the sporting activities for the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir. This odd amount of 6 crore is nothing. If tomorrow I want to do a mega tourna¬ment it will at least cost me 2-3 crore Rupees,” he said adding, he have taken up the matter with the Chief Minster Mehbooba Mufti who is “very keen” in the promoting sporting activities.
“The CM did release some contingency funds but still we are running short of funds to provide the higher stand¬ard sporting facilities to engage the youth productively. The Government of India had committed us funds in this regard and in the near future we will be able to provide the world class sporting facilities and avenues to our youth to showcase their talents,” he said.
He said that there is an important need of convergence between cultural department and youth services department in in promoting cultural and sports activities together.
“I have spoken to my ministry to revive youth services like dance, drama, theatre, music, etc. in schools and colleges,” he said. (KNS)