VHA submits astro turf proposal, again

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 30 Jun 2018 11:54:11


By Paritosh Pramanik,

WILL Vidarbha Hockey Association (VHA) be third time lucky?The hockey governing body of the region has, for the third time in last three years, submitted proposal for an astro turf at its Amravati Road playfield. Earlier, VHA had submitted their proposals twice after their file got ‘lost’ at Director of Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of Maharashtra, Pune.

Taking advantage of Government of India’s ‘Khelo India’ Infrastructure Scheme’, where government grants funds for development of sports infrastructure, VHA applied for grant for first ever turf to be constructed in entire Vidarbha. VHA has re-submitted fresh proposal to District Sports Office, Nagpur earlier this month which forwarded it to the sports department, Pune.

A few days back, VHA officials also held a meeting with District Collector Ashwin Mudgal, who is the district head of ‘Khelo India Scheme’. He, too, gave green signal to VHA’s proposal, which has set the ball rolling. During the Khasdar Krida Mahotsav held in April, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had assured all possible help to VHA in securing an astro turf in city.

Even former MLC Ajay Sancheti, during the prize distribution function of Khasdar Krida Mahotsav’s hockey tournament, had assured to take up the matter with higher ups regarding astro turf in Nagpur.Since then things have started materialising fast, it seems, as VHA’s file has been received by the Maharashtra Sports Ministry in Pune.Under the scheme VHA is likely to get Rs 7 crore for astro turf.

“According to Khelo India Scheme, Rs 7 crore is allotted for construction of astro turf which include, laying of new turf, water treatment plant, changing rooms and fencing around the field,” informed Vinod Gawai, Secretary, VHA. “We have requested another Rs 5 crore for construction of spectators gallery (stands). We want to hold international matches in future. For that we also need a proper stadium for spectators. We have requested to construct stands with a seating capacity of at least 5000 spectators,” added Gawai.
The VHA secretary was elated with the speed of the initial paper work.

“The files are now moving fast thanks to the interest shown by Gadkariji and Sanchetiji in securing an astro turf in their own city. I am sure our dream of having an astro turf will be fulfilled in coming years,” he said. “We will continue to co-ordinate and keep following up with concerned departments so that the work starts at the earliest,” Gawai assured.

Earlier, during the tenure of Radheshyam Sarda led body, VHA had sent the proposal twice after it got ‘lost’ in the government department at Pune. But BC Bhartia and Vinod Gawai-led body, after assuming charge in 2017, followed up the matter and immediately prepared another fresh proposal.VHA had earlier submitted proposals under the Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme to the District Sports Office and other concerned government departments. Letters and proposals were drafted and dispatched to Maharashtra Government in January last year.

The School Education and Sports Department, Government of Maharashtra, on April 22, 2016 had forwarded VHA’s proposal to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, New Delhi requesting them to grant 100 per cent financial assistance for synthetic playing surface under Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS). However, the proposal was caught in the proverbial bureaucratic red-tape. The elevation of the then Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal as Chief Minister of Assam further added to the hurdles.

VHA’s representative had met Sonowal before Assam elections but after that the process came to a grinding halt. Later, VHA submitted all the required documents to the concerned department. However, to their bad luck, the ministry decided to rename the Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS) and asked VHA to submit their proposal in ‘Khelo India Infrastructure Scheme’.The then VHA president Sarda had also met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and submitted a letter requesting him to look into the matter. But still nothing concrete had happened. Now, that the third proposal has been submitted, and the way things are taking shape, it looks it won’t be a distant dream of a turf in Nagpur.