Pradeep Pattanayak

The state units of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress on Saturday claimed they could see through the ruling BJD's plan behind launching sports events in Plus-II and Plus-III colleges across the state. 

Even though the colleges in the state reportedly lack sports infrastructure, the state government is all set to organise sports festivals in Plus II and Plus III colleges. These festivals will witness not only sports events but also cultural and social programmes. The events under the Integrated Youth Development Programme (IYDP) will be organised between November 15 and December 31. 

It is said that the Higher Education department is organising this with the aim to popularise sports among youths. As per the budgets fixed, a college having 100 to 200 students will receive Rs 1.5 lakh; for 200 to 500 - Rs 3 lakh; Rs 6 lakh for 2000 students and Rs 9 lakh for over 2000 students. The government has already announced to use the bicycles of Class IX students for branding. 

But the ground reality tells a different story. 

Most of the colleges across the state don’t have the facilities to organise sports events for students. 

Radhakrishna Higher Secondary School in Koraput’s Narayanpatna has a strength of over 200 students. But the institution doesn’t have its own playground. Nor does it have sports equipment. Maa Markama College in Rayagada’s Muniguda has a similar story to tell. This institution has a playground but it is not worth organising any sports events. Sports equipment has long been on the wish list of the students. 

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The situation in Jajpur NC College is no different either. Here the students are fuming over a lack of sports infrastructure. 

“If the government is spending so much money, we request the government to give us a playground so that we can also compete with others,” said Sunita Khila, a student of Radhakrishna Higher Secondary School. 

“The Plus III College doesn’t have its own playground. We had received some money from the World Bank Fund. The money was spent on buying sports equipment that is being used by the students,” said Ashwini Panda, the principal of Maa Markama College.

Earlier, Higher Education Minister, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak had said, “Sports competitions, cultural programmes and social activities will be done. For this, financial arrangements will be made for the colleges. And colleges having over 100 students will be eligible to take part in the programme.”

Taking a swipe at the BJD-led government, state BJP spokesperson, Dilip Mohanty said, “The government is trying to shut the mouths of students by giving them money. Students have prepared themselves to fight against the party’s bad governance and anarchy.”

Similarly, OPCC chief Sarat Pattanayak said, “The students across the state have been aware of the fact that the BJD government is only doing advertisements and nothing else. So they won’t succeed in getting votes of youths and women this year.”

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