Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today inaugurated the Ellahi Bagh Indoor Sports Stadium, constructed at a cost of Rs 4 cr under PMDP.
Congratulating the locals, especially the youth of Downtown area for the new sports facility, the Lt Governor said the Shahr-e-Khas area has evolved as a hub of sporting activities, with youngsters determined to achieve the glory in sports.
“I was told by local people that first time in 75 years any head of the state visited Downtown Srinagar. They said many areas were known for wrong reasons. But, I believe Downtown, Srinagar has shed its past and it is now a new address of Indian Sporting Heroes,” Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor further said, “In the last two years, downtown has witnessed a massive rise in the number of sports being played and a large number of youth pursuing sports professionally”.
Amid the cheers of thousands of locals present at the venue, the Lt Governor recounted names of top-class players who recently went to represent the country at the International sporting events.
“Several youngsters from Downtown, Srinagar have proved their mettle in International Championships. The day is not far when we will see the youth of Shahr-e-Khas representing the country in Olympics and earning a new identity of heroes and the respect for J&K and the country,” Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor 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 players.
“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.
“Total 12 sports fields, mini-stadiums in different areas of downtown Srinagar have been upgraded by J&K Sports Council with world class amenities to nurture young talents. Determination of downtown youth to see the tricolor fly high has revived the legacy of football & other games,” Lt Governor added.
The growing sports culture in J&K is reflected in the remarkable revolution in different sports disciplines. In the last three years, we have ensured unprecedented progress with regard to infrastructure, career progression, & future of the players. An enabling environment through new policies has been created which fills the gap of the last 70 years, observed the Lt Governor.
J&K Sports Council is making efforts to nurture sporting talent in every part of the UT. We have ensured that the difficulties faced by the players before 2019 are not faced by our new generation players and every support is extended to hone their skills and provide them more opportunities, he added.
The Lt Governor said 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.
The Lt Governor asked the youth to take the inspirations from champions like Sadia Tariq, Shaukat Ahmed & Danish Farooq and dedicate themselves in their respective sports discipline. It is gold when you lose your entire energy in the game but only particles of dust when the energy is wasted, the Lt Governor added.
The Lt Governor noted that Noon Chai with Football of the Shahr-e-Khas is being discussed across the nation. 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 that of a champion.
Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav has given 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 platforms, observed the Lt Governor.
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 UT. 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 civilized society,” the Lt Governor said.
Observing that today Jammu and Kashmir is moving ahead on the path of progress, the Lt Governor 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, the Lt Governor gave on the spot directions and assured them to address each and every issue on priority.
The Youth present on the occasion also pledged to make Kashmir free from drugs.
On his arrival, the Lt Governor took a round of the newly constructed Indoor Stadium, interacted with the young sportspersons and inspected the facilities there.
Sh Junaid Azim Mattu, Mayor SMC, while speaking on the occasion, 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.
Dr Darakhshan Andrabi, Chairperson 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 the UT and the Country.
Dr. 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 J&K Sports council for promoting sports in the UT.
Sh 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 on-going process of recruitment of sportspersons against various gazetted and non-gazetted posts as per new Sports Policy.
Dedicated efforts are being made to develop sports infrastructure and engage more youth in sports activities to realize the vision of making J&K- a power house of sporting talent, he added.
Ms Nuzhat Gul, Secretary, J&K Sports Council presented the Vote of Thanks. She also informed about the various ongoing and completed sports infrastructure projects in the UT.
Sh Dheeraj Gupta, Principal Secretary to the Government, H&UDD; Sh Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Sh Vijay Kumar, ADGP Kashmir; Sh. Mohd Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar; Sh. Athar Aamir Khan, Commissioner SMC; PRI & ULB members; members of Down-Town community, Sikh community & religious leaders; prominent sports personalities, large number of people and youth were present on the occasion.