J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday inaugurated the Ellahi Bagh Indoor Sports Stadium, constructed at a cost of Rs 4 crore under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) in downtoen Srinagar.
Congratulating the locals, especially the youth of the downtown area, for the new sports facility, Sinha said the Shahr-e-Khas area has evolved as a hub of sporting activities with youngsters determined to achieve glory in sports.
“I was told by the local people that for the first time in 75 years any head of the state has visited downtown Srinagar. They said many areas were known for wrong reasons. But, I believe the area has shed its past and it is now a new address for India’s sporting heroes.
“In the last two years, downtown has witnessed a massive rise in the number of sport being played and a large number of youth are now pursuing sports professionally,” Sinha said.
Amid cheers of thousands of locals present at the venue, the L-G recounted the names of top-class players who recently represented the country at international sporting events.
“Several youngsters from downtown Srinagar have proved their mettle at international championships. The day is not far when we will see the youth of Shahr-e-Khas representing the country in Olympics and earning respect for J&K and India,” Sinha said.
The L-G appreciated the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council for preparing and handing over the Ellahi Bagh Indoor Sports Stadium in record time and extended his best wishes to all the sportspersons.
“Opportunities in sports come knocking if the players are receptive, determined and motivated. You get life only once, do something that everyone remembers. Change your life and contribute in nation building.
“A total of 12 sports fields, mini stadia in different areas of downtown Srinagar have been upgraded by the J&K Sports Council with world class amenities to nurture young talents. Determination of downtown youth to see the tricolour fly high has revived the legacy of football and other games,” the L-G added.
The growing sports culture in J&K is reflected in the remarkable revolution in different sporting disciplines, he said.
“In the last three years, we have ensured unprecedented progress with regard to infrastructure, career progression and future of the players. An enabling environment through new policies has been created which fills the gap of the last 70 years,” observed the L-G.
J&K Sports Council is making efforts to nurture sporting talent in every part of the UT, he added.
“We have ensured that the difficulties faced by the players before 2019 are not faced by our new generation of players and every support is extended to hone their skills and provide them more opportunities,” he said.
Sinha said the J&K Sports Council is looking for sporting talent so that training and other facilities can be provided to them.
“All sportspersons have the potential to become like Saqib Farooq, Rabia Farooq, Toria Gulzar, Tajim Fayaz, Soliha Yusuf and Farhan Ganai and bring laurels to the nation,” he said.
The L-G then asked the youth to take inspiration from champions like Sadia Tariq, Shaukat Ahmed and Danish Farooq and dedicate themselves in their respective disciplines.
He said sports gives a new identity to the youth and the Sports Council and the UT administration are ensuring that every player gets an opportunity to play with better infrastructure and earn the identity of a champion.
“Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav has given us an opportunity to touch new heights. The UT administration is committed to facilitate the dreams of the youth to excel in sports and represent the country at various levels,” observed the L-G.
“We have to restore the reputation of Shahr-e-Khas, once called the heartbeat of Kashmir. Some people with vested interest are rattled by the all-round development taking place in J&K. Efforts were also made to mislead many of our youth. The entire families of those who misled our children are living a comfortable life in the big cities of the country and abroad while our children have suffered. There is no place for such elements in the civilised society,” Sinha said.
Observing that today Jammu and Kashmir is moving ahead on the path of progress, the L-G called upon the elders, parents and the community members to join the efforts to completely eradicate the menace of drug addiction to give a secure and prosperous future to the new generation.
On the various demands of local residents of Shahr-e-Khas and the members of the sports clubs, Sinha gave on the spot directions and assured them of addressing each and every issue on priority.
The youth present on the occasion also pledged to make Kashmir free from drugs.
On his arrival, Sinha took a round of the newly constructed stadium, interacted with the young sportspersons and inspected the facilities.
Speaking on the occasion, Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu lauded the Lt Governor-led UT government for reaching out to the youth from across the UT and taking unprecedented measures to develop sports even in the areas which were neglected for decades.
Darakhshan Andrabi, Chairperson of J&K Waqf Board, extended gratitude to the UT administration for providing resources and necessary support to the youth and sportspersons so that they can bring laurels to J&K and the country.
Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, congratulated the locals and the youth of the downtown area for the new indoor sports stadium. He also lauded the efforts of the sports department and the J&K Sports Council for promoting sports in the UT.
Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary, Youth Services & Sports, gave a detailed briefing on the facilities being extended to the sportspersons at the new indoor stadium. He further informed about the ongoing process of recruitment of sportspersons against various gazetted and non-gazetted posts as per the new sports policy.