Indian Railways will set up five sports academies at Delhi, Secunderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai as its contribution to the encouragement of sports in the country, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee announced in Parliament.

“We are proud of our sports persons for excellent performances. Indian Railways, a great patron of sports, is the first recipient of the newly instituted prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar, awarded for the encouragement of sports,” she said while presenting the railway budget.

“To strengthen the present sports infrastructure, I also propose to set up five academies at Delhi, Secunderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. It is also proposed to provide astro-turfs for the development of hockey at more places,” she said.

Banerjee said the railways will also provide increased employment opportunities to sportspersons.

Indian Railways, she added, will be the lead partner of the Commonwealth Games to be held here from October 3-14.

“To mark the event and also to spread the message, railways proposes to run a Commonwealth exhibition train (around the country),” she said.