Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela was constructed at a cost of Rs 261.76 crore, out of which Rs 136.82 crore was spent from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund, informed Odisha Sports Minister, Tusharkanti Behera on Thursday.

Behera informed this while replying to a question by MLA Subash Panigrahi in Odisha Assembly.

As per Behera, the rest of the amount, Rs 124.94 crore was spent from the State budget.

Asked about the guests Odisha government had entertained during the event and the cost incurred, Behera said, “There was no yardstick for short-listing State guests for the event. Special flights were arranged to fly participating nations’ players and the personnel employed to manage the event from Bhubaneswar to Rourkela every day.”

“The vacant seats in the aircraft were offered to mentally challenged students, students of SC/ST hostels, ITI students and media personnel. The total expenditure was borne by the Commerce and Transport department,” Behera clarified.

Spending money from the DMF fund attracted criticism for the government. As per the DMF norms, the fund collected can only be used for providing drinking water, to arrest air pollution, development of health and educational infrastructure, welfare of women and children, skill development and home construction in the mining affected districts.

The locals of Sundargarh were of the opinion that spending for sports development is alright, but it should not come at the cost of neglecting basic amenities meant for the people, like the under construction railway over bridge at Rajgangpur, which has been lying incomplete since three decades.

(Reported By Harihar Chand, OTV)