Upcoming Saltlake hockey international stadium gets Rs 20 cr boost

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Kolkata, Feb 8 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced a Rs 20 crore grant for the upcoming international hockey stadium inside the Saltlake Stadium Complex.

The 6,500-capacity stadium, to be spread over an area of approximately three acres, is proposed to be built near gate number one of the Saltlake Stadium and is likely to come up within a year.

'I'm hereby granting Rs 20 crore for the hockey astro-turf,' Banerjee said at the Khelashree programme, an annual felicitation of the state's sportspersons, at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here.

She also made a slew of announcements, including a pension scheme of Rs 1,000 for the former sportspersons of the state.

'We have about 2,000-plus ex-players who are above 60 years. As a gratitude, I want to announce a state pension scheme for them with Rs 1,000 per month,' she said.

Under an upcoming scheme, the state government will now sponsor about 100 athletes.

'I will tell (Sports Minister) Aroop (Biswas) to form a committee of experts who can identify, for instance 100 sports persons, who will be fully sponsored,' Banerjee said.

'They don't have to worry about their training or taking part in a competition. They will be fully sponsored by us under this new scheme,' she added.

Banerjee further highlighted how her government facilitated football club East Bengal's entry into the top tier Indian Super League after roping in investors Shree Cement.

'After Mohun Bagan's entry, everyone asked why can't East Bengal play in the ISL... I also want Mohammed Sporting to play in the ISL. I want all the clubs from Bengal to make waves.

'Football teams of Brazil, Germany are not built in a day. Football, cricket, tennis and all Olympic events, I want Bengal to make headlines in all disciplines,' she said.

Banerjee further announced Rs 1 lakh grant to 26,000 clubs and 861 coaching camps of the state.

While she virtually inaugurated the Kishore Bharati Krirangan with the I-League match between Churchill Brothers and Real Kashmir, Banerjee added that the state has spent about Rs 400 crore in building 34 stadiums.

'Continuing our priority for sports, we have built 17 youth residential academies, 34 stadiums, 703 mini indoor stadiums, six swimming pools, 4000-plus multi gymnasium and also developed more than 400 grounds. Overall, we have spent about Rs 400 crore.' She further said West Bengal now has four sports academies -- in Khardah (football), Jhargram (archery), Kolkata, Saltlake (tennis and table tennis). Also a fifth one, of swimming, is coming up,' she added.

The Awardees Khel Samman: Atar Ali, Himashree Roy, Mitrabha Guha, Paramita Roy, Goutam Dey, Riya Mondal, Nilna Shil, Salma Majhi, Tapan Pal, Jayashree Das, Mehuli Ghosh, Priyabata Sadhu, Sahida Khatun, Jeet Chandra, Soham Sadhukhan, Sahir Ali Mallick.

Bangalar Gourav: Ruma Roy, Pinki Pramanik, Dr Laxmi Narayan Nayak, Surya Sekhar Ganguly, Runa Basu, Sagarmoy Sensharma, Subhomoy Das, Sumanto Ghosh, Amit Bhadra, Amit Das, Babu Mani, Debasis Mukherjee, Deepak Mandal, Dulal Biswas, Prashanta Chakraborty, Pratima Biswas, Sandip Nandi, Debjani Samanta, Monaj Bera, Partha Pratim Sengupta, Kishore Kumar Patra, Debabrata Chatterjee, Bhagirath Samal, Mamoni Mondal, Tarak Nath Shaw and Mantu Ghosh.

Krira Guru: Smita Chattopadhyay, Tarun Saha, Amitava Ghosh, Biswanath Ghosh, Joydeep Karmakar, Bharati Ghosh and Mihir Ghosh.

Lifetime Achievement: Bir Bahadur Chettri. PTI TAP APA BS BS