Srinagar: According the respect Kashmir’s heartbeat – Shehar-e-Khas - deserves, the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha’s administration has made it the centre of attention by carrying massive developmental activities in the region and on Wednesday, LG Sinha created another first by becoming the first Head of the State to visit the Srinagar downtown in 75 years.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that inaugurating the Ellahi Bagh Indoor Sports Stadium constructed at Rs 4 crore under PMDP, LG Sinha said that Srinagar downtown had shed its past and was now the new address of Indian sporting heroes.
“I was told by local people that first time in 75 years any head of the state visited Srinagar downtown. They said many areas were known for the wrong reasons. But, I believe Srinagar downtown has shed its past and it is now a new address of Indian sporting heroes,” he said.
Congratulating the locals, especially the youth of downtown for the new sports facility, the LG said that the Shehar-e-Khas area had evolved into a hub of sporting activities with youngsters determined to achieve glory in sports.
“In the last two years, downtown has witnessed a massive rise in the number of sports being played and a large number of youth pursuing sports professionally,” he said.
Amid cheers of thousands of locals present at the venue, the LG recounted the names of top-class players who recently went to represent the country at international sporting events.
“Several youngsters from Srinagar downtown have proved their mettle in international championships. The day is not far when we will see the youth of Shehar-e-Khas representing the country in the Olympics and earning a new identity of heroes and respect for J&K and the country,” he said.
The LG appreciated the J&K Sports Council for preparing and handing over the Ellahi Bagh Indoor Sports Stadium in a record time and extended his best wishes to all the players.
“Opportunities in sports come knocking if the players are receptive, determined, and motivated. You get life only once. Do something that everyone remembers. Change your life and contribute to nation building,” he said. “A total of 12 sports fields and mini-stadiums in different areas of Srinagar downtown have been upgraded by J&K Sports Council with world-class amenities to nurture young talents. The determination of downtown youth to see the tricolour fly high has revived the legacy of football and other games.”
The LG said that the growing sports culture in J&K was reflected in the remarkable revolution in different sports disciplines.
“In the last three years, we have ensured unprecedented progress about infrastructure, career progression, and future of the players. An enabling environment through new policies has been created which fills the gap of the last 70 years,” he said.
The LG said that the J&K Sports Council was making efforts to nurture sporting talent in every part of J&K.
“We have ensured that the difficulties faced by the players before 2019 are not faced by our new generation players and that every support is extended to hone their skills and provide them more opportunities,” he said.
The LG said J&K Sports Council was looking for sporting talent so that training and other facilities could be provided to them.
“All sports persons have the potential to become like Saqib Farooq, Rabia Farooq, Toria Gulzar, Tajim Fayaz, Soliha Yusuf, and Farhan Ganai and bring laurels to the nation,” he said.
The LG asked the youth to take inspiration from champions like Sadia Tariq, Shaukat Ahmad, and Danish Farooq and dedicate themselves to their sports disciplines.
“It is gold when you lose your entire energy in the game but only particles of dust when the energy is wasted,” he said.
The LG said that Noon Chai with football of the Shehar-e-Khas was being discussed across the country.
He said that sports give a new identity to the youth and the J&K Sports Council and the J&K administration were ensuring that every player gets an opportunity to play with better infrastructure and earn the identity of a champion.
“‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ has allowed touching new heights. The J&K administration is committed to facilitating the dreams of the youth to excel in sports and represent the country on various platforms,” the LG said. “We have to restore the reputation of Shehar-e-Khas, once called the heartbeat of Kashmir. Some people with vested interest are rattled by the all-around development taking place in J&K. Efforts were also made to mislead many of our youth. The entire families of those who misled our children are living a comfortable life in big cities of the country and abroad while our children have suffered. There is no place for such elements in a civilised society.”
Observing that today J&K was moving ahead on the path of progress, he called upon the elders, parents, and community members to join the efforts to completely eradicate the menace of drug addiction to give a secure and prosperous future to the new generation.
On the various demands of residents of Shehar-e-Khas and the members of the sports clubs, the LG gave on-the-spot directions and assured them to address every issue on priority.
The youth present on the occasion also pledged to make Kashmir free from drugs.
After his arrival, the LG took a round of the newly-constructed indoor stadium, interacted with the young sportspersons, and inspected the facilities there.
Mayor of SMC Junaid Azim Mattu lauded the LG-led J&K government for reaching out to the youth from across J&K and taking unprecedented measures to develop sports even in areas that were neglected for decades.
Chairperson J&K Waqf Board Darakhshan Andrabi extended gratitude to the J&K administration for providing resources and necessary support to the youth and sports persons so that they could bring laurels to J&K and the country.
Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta congratulated the locals and the youth of the downtown for the new indoor sports stadium.
He also lauded the efforts of the Sports Department and J&K Sports council for promoting sports in J&K.
Secretary Youth Services and Sports Sarmad Hafeez gave a detailed briefing on the facilities being extended to the sportspersons at the new indoor stadium.
He informed about the ongoing process of recruitment of sportspersons against various gazetted and non-gazetted posts as per the new Sports Policy.
Hafeez said that dedicated efforts were being made to develop sports infrastructure and engage more youth in sports activities to realise the vision of making J&K a powerhouse of sporting talent.
Secretary J&K Sports Council Nuzhat Gul presented the vote of thanks and informed about the various ongoing and completed sports infrastructure projects in J&K.
Principal Secretary to the Government H&UDD Dheeraj Gupta, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole, ADGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Muhammad Aijaz, Commissioner SMC Athar Aamir Khan, Panchayat and ULB members, members of Srinagar downtown community, members of Sikh community and religious leaders, and prominent sports personalities were present on the occasion.