Guwahati: The Assam government will soon amend its sports policy to reserve a certain percentage of jobs for athletes, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.
Besides providing jobs, pension and one-time financial grants to the medal winners at different levels, the government has also made its “highest-ever allocation” for sports infrastructure development this fiscal, he maintained.
Speaking at a function here, Sarma said, “If we want to encourage more youngsters to take up sports, we have to provide them with jobs too. We will amend the existing sports policy in the state and have a definite percentage of government jobs reserved under the sports quota.”
The current policy had come into effect on January 1, 2018, for a period of five years, when the first BJP-led state government under Sarbananda Sonowal was in power.
The chief minister further said Rs 1,000 crore has been sanctioned for developing sports infrastructure in this year’s state budget and claimed that it is Assam”s “highest-ever allocation” in this sector.
He stated than an international-level stadium will come up at the site of the now-closed Chandrapur Thermal Power Project, on the outskirts of Guwahati, while work was underway for setting up two sports complexes in Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur districts.
The CM also pointed out that stadiums were being built in as many as 52 remote locations across the state, and 40 more places will be added to that list this year.
“We will try to introduce coaching facilities next… We shall encourage every stadium to take up at least one discipline and the government will pay the salary for two to three coaches in each place,” he said.
The chief minister, who doled out pension to National Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics medal winners – none of them government employees — at the function, said the government will provide such one-time help to players in the future too.
Besides sports pension to 99 medal winners this year, one-time assistance of Rs 50,000 each was given to 153 players who are in “government engagement”, the CM noted.
Under the sports policy of the state, appointment letters as inspectors in the excise department were handed over to 2014 World Cup silver medallist archer Sanjay Boro and 2019 Women World Boxing Championship bronze winner Jamuna Bora by the chief minister.
He added that sports organisers of the state will also be given their due respect, though sports pension were only meant for the players.
Wishing Bhogeshwar Baruah, the state’s first Arjuna awardee and Asian Games gold medallist, on his birthday on Friday, Sarma said the success that he had achieved in the sixties inspires sportspersons to this day.
“His Asian Games gold medal had got just one column news coverage in a leading English daily here then. The situation has changed now and sportspersons are given due recognition.
“Our aim is to capitalise on this pro-sports environment and draw more youth to take up sports,” Sarma added.
Governor Jagdish Mukhi, Bhogeswar Baruah, several ministers and legislators, along with sportspersons of the state, were present at the occasion.