The double engine government of Uttar Pradesh has been consistently taking initiatives to build a world-class sports infrastructure and develop a sports culture in the state unlike previous governments when mafias and criminals played their tournaments of illegal grabbing of properties, forcing people to flee the state, abandoning their ancestral properties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.
The prime minister came to Meerut from Delhi by road, covering a distance of 75 km in dense fog. Prior to visiting the site of the public meeting at Sargana, Prime Minister Modi offered prayers at Augharnath Temple and also paid homage to the martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti.
Modi is the first prime minister to visit the Augharnath Temple that played a key role during the revolt of 1857. Also present with him were UP Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.
The prime minister also visited the Swatantrata Museum and interacted with sports persons prior to addressing the rally.
Addressing a huge gathering after laying the foundation stone of Major Dhyan Chand Sports University in Meerut, the prime minister said that the previous governments were too engrossed in their own games to care for sports and sports persons.
“In those days, criminals who passed lewd comments on girls in Meerut had no fear of the law while daughters felt unsafe outside their homes. Today, the situation has changed completely. Yogiji is playing ‘jail-jail with criminals and mafias. Today, daughters of Meerut are going out freely and making the country proud in the field of sports,” the prime minister remarked.
He added that there had never been a dearth of sports talents in India and all time great hockey player, Major Dhyan Chand was a brilliant example of this as despite being under foreign rule, India could manage to win major hockey tournaments because of him.
“However, previous governments neglected sports. Besides, there was nepotism, corruption and lack of transparency in selection of players in almost every sport due to which India could not achieve what it should have in the field of sports. We had to wait for decades to win medals”, the prime minister said.
According to the prime minister, now talents are spotted in remote villages under Khelo India Khelo programme in order to hone their skills. Stadiums, which existed only in cities, are also being built in villages in order to encourage villagers to play a sport of their choice.
He said that the Major Dhyan Chand Sports University with its world-class facilities would serve as a nursery for promising talents to blossom into perfect sports persons, adding that Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand were very rich in terms of sporting talents.
The prime minister said that the country’s future lay in the hands of the youth of the country and that he was confident that India would lead the world in future.
Modi said that Meerut had a special place in the history of India right from the ancient period of Indus Valley Civilization to the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, India’s first war of independence.
“It’s a cultural centre that has cradled freedom fighters. It is a ‘kranti nagari’ and it will become now a ‘khel nagari’ with the opening of the university. Our goal is also to achieve self-reliance in production of sports items.”
Modi said that the Yogi government had handed over property ownership papers to 23 lakh people in UP’s villages, which would help the youth of the state to get loans in order to start businesses and other ventures. He added that the UP government had made record payment to the sugar cane farmers and had also set up new sugar mills. He said that a number of steps had been taken to strengthen the rural economy.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the historic performance of sports persons in the Tokyo Olympics and Tokyo Paralympics bore testimony to the Central government’s concrete steps to promote sports in the country.
Expressing his gratitude to the prime minister for naming the university after the great hockey player of yesteryear, Major Dhyan Chand, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the state government under the guidance of Prime Minister Modi had taken significant steps to promote sports in the state.
“We are working on having a playing field in every village. We are also building stadiums in villages. Besides, we have set up Eklavya Sports Fund to train and prepare sports persons for national and international championships,” Yogi remarked.
The chief minister said that the state government had also decided to give government jobs to those sports persons who win medals at major national and international events. He added that the government would give Rs 6 crore and Rs 4 crore to those who win gold and silver medals respectively at the Olympics.
Yogi said that Meerut had got sports items under the One District One Product (ODOP) scheme.
Spread over 91.38 acres, the Major Dhyan Chand Sports University will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore and promote the Uttar Pradesh government’s ongoing mission to build sports culture in the state.
The sprawling campus of the university will boast of an indoor stadium, synthetic running track stadium, separate courts for basketball, handball and lawn tennis, hostels for boys and girls with a capacity to accommodate 1,200 students, shopping complex, guest house, gymnasium and a multipurpose hall among others.
The university will have a total of 1,080 seats, including 540 each for men and women. The proposed courses for the university are: physical education, health & applied sports sciences, sports management & technology, sports coaching, sports journalism & mass media & technology and adventure sports. The university will offer a three-year Bachelor in Sports degree course, besides diploma as well as Master’s and PhD courses.