The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, April 21
Reiterating the firm commitment of Aam Aadmi government to restore the pristine glory of state in sports field, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday felicitated 147 National Games Medalists with cash reward of Rs. 5.43 Crore, to recognize their dedication and dogged commitment.
Presiding over a function held at Municipal Bhawan here, the Chief Minister said that Punjab today became the first state in the country who felicitated its National Games Medalists. He said that Gold Meadlists have been felicitated with five lakh each, while Silver Medalists with three lakh and Bronze Medalists with two lakh each. Bhagwant Mann said that the state government is ready with its blueprint to give major fillip to the sports in Punjab. “It is a humble initiative of our government to recognize the spectacular feat of all the players for brought laurels to the state” he said while interacting with the players.
The Chief Minister said that concerted efforts are already being made state by in the state government in this regard. Bhagwant Mann said that the sportsmen of the state are being honoured with cash prizes to encourage the aspiring players to excel in sports and to keep out youth from the clutches of drug menace. He said that the basic motive is to channelise the unbounded energy of the youth in a positive direction thereby making them an equal partner in socio-economic growth of the state.
Announcing Rs. 16,000 monthly stipend under the Olympian Balbir Singh Senior Scholarship Scheme, the Chief Minister said that it is yet another step of the state government to boost the morale of these young players. He bemoaned that earlier parents don’t want that their wards to enroll in sports but now this initiative will act as a game changer and a new era of sports will be heralded in the state by providing top-class infrastructure to budding players to compete in the international level. Bhagwant Mann said that the world class infrastructure coupled with professional coaches, diet and other facilities will be ensured to the players so that they can brought laurels for their state and country.
The Chief Minister said that a new sports policy is being implemented soon, which will gingerly focus on maximum podium finishes during Olympics and other international events. He said that this policy has been meticulously drafted after taking views from all the stakeholders so that sports and sportsmen get a major push. Bhagwant Mann said that the main aim is to ensure that Punjab emerges as front runner state in field of sports.
Assailing the previous governments for blatantly neglecting sports, the Chief Minister said that due to this callous attitude the state, that had produced several stalwarts in sports, had lagged behind in the arena of games. However, he asserted that to propel sports culture in schools, the state government is now recruiting DP and PTI teachers on war footing. Bhagwant Mann said that a special focus is being given on sports by the state government and world-class sports stadium will be built soon in the villages to groom the budding talent from rural folks so that youngsters will stay away from clutches of drug menace.
The Chief Minister emphasized that our sportsmen have brought laurels to the state and now the onus lies on the state government to recognize these achievements. Striking a personal chord with eminent players on their achievements, Bhagwant Mann specifically cited the name of Usain Bolt, Martina Navratilova, Boris Baker, Maria Sharapova, Arjuna Ranatunga and others who had excelled in field of sports. He asked the players to follow their footsteps for carving a niche for themselves in field of sports.
Calling confidence, hard work and perseverance as the key of success, the Chief Minister motivated budding players to believe in themselves and their abilities to excel in all situations. He said that this attitude will help them to overcome all the hurdles and win medals for the country. Bhagwant Mann envisioned that the day is not far when the youth of state will create history by bagging medals for state and country.
Describing the ‘Schools of Eminence’ as a revolutionary step for ensuring bright future of the students, the Chief Minister said that it was a giant leap forward towards becoming a real frontrunner in field of education. Bhagwant Mann envisioned that these schools will enable the students to compete with their convent-educated peers in various competitive exams across the country with specific focus on career counseling. He said that these schools will play an eminent role in grooming the students for competitions across the country.
The Chief Minister unequivocally said that the state government has already enhanced the sports budget to build new stadiums at village level, from where the natural talent is produced but had been hitherto ignored. Talking about the sports extravaganza ‘Khedan Wattan Punjab Diyan’, he said that these games have boosted the sporting activity in state by channelized unbounded energy of the players in a positive direction. Bhagwant Mann said that such concerted efforts will bear fruits by providing a platform to the players to excel in arena of sports. Bhagwant Mann bemoaned that ill-conceived policies of the successive governments neglected the hockey team of Punjab Police, football teams of JCT Phagwara and Rail Coach Factory for decades but now the massive efforts are afoot to revive these gems of the state.
Meanwhile, the Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer informed that the department is trying hard to make Sports Policy of Punjab a unique document which will provide a congenial atmosphere to sportsmen. He said that it is for the first time in history, that the national award winners from Army, Navy and other services, have been honoured by a state government.