New minister promises better sports infra

Mumbai: The newly appointed Sports Minister of Maharashtra Ashish Shelar on Monday said that the government is keen on making changes in sports infrastructure of the state and has allocated huge funds for it.

"When I became the sports minister - this was the first time in the state of Maharashtra - we have decided, allocated and approved that in coming three years, we want to spend not less than Rs 3000 crore in Maharashtra for creating infrastructure for sports."

The minister, a former President of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), said that the focus of the government is on developing infrastructure in a professional way and giving all sports equal attention.

"The state wants to prepare a kind of infrastructure throughout the state for all kinds of sports - not only one sport - and apart from that, a recreation facility for the respective tehsils, district and all that level.

Presently, some sports complexes are finding it tough to meet the maintenance costs but the sports minister hinted that the government is looking to design a programme through which facilities like the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune can be put to more use.

"If we come up with new ways or adopt methods in order to generate revenue, I'm sure that the maintenance costs can be covered," he said while citing the example of Dharavi Sports Complex.

Meanwhile, he assured all assistance to ace state shooter Rahi Sarnobat, who has secured a place in her event - women's 25m pistol - at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

"I think whatever the state government has committed, the state government will wholeheartedly fulfil that," the minister noted at a function organised by International Institute of Sports Management (IISM) at Bandra.

Asked about Rahi's concerns of not getting paid by the state government of which she is an employee, Shelar said, "I will seek detailed information and take necessary steps and I will speak to the Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis in this regard)," he signed off.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala

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