Odisha Aims To Be Sports Hub, But Lacks Sports Policy

Bhubaneswar: Despite aiming to be the hub of sports in India, there is no sports policy in Odisha, admitted state Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera on Friday. The Minister said the objective of the Sports and Youth Affairs department is being materialised through various schemes, guidelines and notifications from time to time.

“Currently, there is no such sports policy in place in Odisha. A new sports policy would be introduced soon in the state. It’s in the draft stage and formulated in line with the national sports policy,” Behera told the state Assembly.

Behera was replying to a question of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Bhupinder Singh in the House.

Behera said the government has recognised 40 sports disciplines in the state. The Minister said there is a policy to release special grants to different sports associations for organization of national and international championships in Odisha under the aeges of the concerned recognized national federation.

Replying to another question of BJP MLA Kusum Tete, the Minister said the sportspersons, who have played at international sports events and won medals at open national games, have been provided jobs in various sectors.

While athlete Srabani Nanda was given job in Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC), sprint queen Dutee Chand got a job in Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC). Total 96 sportspersons have been given jobs in Odisha police, said Behera.

Former sports administrators have said that a sports policy will help former players and aspiring players especially those residing in rural areas.

“Currently, a schematic concept is being run by the State government and accordingly facilities are being provided. However, if these schemes were regulated by sports policy, different loopholes could be identified,” a former sports administrator Ashok Mohanty said.

Olympian and former Hockey player, Lajrus Barla, said, “Sports policy will be helpful both for former players and aspiring youths who are willing to make a career.”

(With IANS inputs)