Sports

Lack of funds may force BOA to postpone State Games

Saba Nayakan | | Updated on: Jan 13, 2013

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At a time when the newly elected body of the Bengal Olympic Association (BOA), headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s elder brother, Ajit Banerjee, is planning to hold the fourth State Games from January 23, a fund crunch may compel the State body to postpone or organise a much scaled down event.

With just 10 days to go for the Games’ opening ceremony at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, the BOA has yet to get any money, either from the State Government or from private sponsors. An estimated budget of Rs 70 lakh has been prepared and the State Government has been approached to sanction Rs 50 lakh. The rest has to be raised from sponsorships.

Massive exercise

The Sports Ministry wrote back to the BOA asking the latter to submit a fresh proposal with the break-up of funds under various heads. The ministry is expected to look into the letter soon.

The first State Games were held in 1999 when the late Asoke Ghosh was the president and Dilip Bhattacharya was the secretary of the BOA. The next one happened a decade later in 2009. The last one was held in 2011. It is a massive exercise with each of the 34 affiliated units of the BOA organising the events, mostly at the Sports Authority of India, Eastern Centre. The rest of the venues are spread over the city. The State Government had sanctioned approximately a little more than Rs 10 lakh for the previous Games and former BOA secretary Kamalesh Chatterjee, who had organised the 2009 and 2011 Games, felt the present BOA committee wouldn’t need more than Rs 20 lakh to host the Games.

Senior members of the BOA want it to take a cautious approach . There has been absolutely no planning or even proper meeting of the executive committee. The organising committee has yet to be formed. But there is a talk of calling a press conference on January 21 to announce the commencement of the Games on January 23.

The president, Ajit Banerjee, is keen to go through with the Games to save the face of the new committee which has not yet done anything concrete.

Shockingly, the BOA’s letter to Chief Minister inviting her to the inaugural function did not evoke any response from her office and when Governor M.K. Narayanan was approached to be the chief guest, his office preferred to send a goodwill message instead.

BOA veterans’ advice is not to rush with the Games. The State Games are more like a carnival. Planned on the lines of the National Games, the State Games are never taken seriously either by the sports administrators or by the sportspersons of the State. These Games do not even help build new infrastructure.

> sabanayakan.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on January 13, 2013
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