‘Rs 576 cr wasted in name of sports facilities’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 May 2018 10:50:25


Special Correspondent,

CAG blasts State Sports Department for its gross failure in providing facilities to sportspersons

While other states are marching ahead in promoting sports activities in their regions, Maharashtra Government has miserably failed to create facilities to promote sports activities in the State. Even after incurring huge expenditure of Rs 576 crore, the Sports department is unable to create adequate sports infrastructure, its proper maintenance and coaching facilities compromising the performance of the sportspersons, observed Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) while blasting the department for its laxity.

Five years have lapsed since Sports Policy was framed, but Sports Department did not collect the information on sports facilities, games and players from 8 selected districts in the state, as decided in the Policy.  These 8 districts are Nagpur, Amravati, Aurangabad, Nanded, Nashik, Pune, Ratnagiri and Thane districts. CAG has made some observations regarding sports facilities in selected eight districts. It has observed that the Sports Academy in Amravati was identified for specific training in archery, but it did not have required range as per the Sports Authority of India guidelines. The guidelines prescribed range of 70 meters along with 20 meters space of safety zone and 20 meters behind shooting line. Instead, CAG observed in its report, the academy had provided a small space ‘without observing safety norms’. Also, the required equipment and teaching aid for archery game was not provided during the review period. The Government has formulated the Policy but it is yet to formulate a concrete action plan, observed CAG in its latest report.

As per report, only 91 sports complexes were completed as against the target of 421. The works on sports complexes at all three levels were found to be delayed or incomplete due to non-release of funds, non-availability of land, incorrect site selection and contractual issues.The critical observations about lackluster implementation of sports policy are part of a CAG report recently tabled in the Maharashtra Legislature. The State Government in its response informed CAG that a high-level committee has been set-up under the chairmanship of Chief Minister to take necessary action. If this is the planning of the State Department, how Maharashtra’s players will qualify and win in international sports, wondered CAG while taking a dig at State’s administration. The Government has framed the sports policy in the year 2012 for preserving the rich sports culture and to equip the sportspersons in the state to face the challenges at international level.

The CAG also flayed the State Government for its failure to prepare a long term plan for the implementation of sports policy. The schemes announced by the Government did not take off as there were delays in execution of schemes due to non-acquisition of land, change in design/scope of works and short or late-release of funds. The Government did not release adequate funds for the maintenance and repairs too. Therefore, the infrastructure created by the Government could not be optimally utilized by the sportspersons. The sports academies are also facing problems due to less intake, inadequate coaching, lack of sports facilities and basic amenities in their premises.

The policy stipulated that Sports Department should conduct a survey to collect the information on available facilities like gymnasium, playgrounds, swimming pool, playfields of different sports. The information is vital to serve as input for future planning of projects. However, sports department is sitting pretty over the files and decision of the Governments to promote sports activities.