The former Director General of Police, Jacob Punnoose, on Monday took charge as the new Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of the National Games Secretariat, a task assigned to him by the Government earlier this month.
He succeeds Dr. Amit Mallick, who, as Director (Sports and Youth Affairs), has been holding additional charge of the post for sometime now.
Dates to be finalised
Talking to The Hindu soon after taking charge, Mr. Punnoose said his immediate priority would be to set firm dates for the 35th National Games, to be hosted by the State in seven centres, by the first week of December.
“The IOA elections, as you are aware is to be held on November 25, and once this is over, we would like to initiate discussions with the new office-bearers of the IOA so as to finalise the dates for the Games,” he said.
Mr. Punnoose said the availability of firm dates would help the NGS to work backwards and be fully prepared to host the Games in a befitting manner either through the last fortnight of December 2013 or in January 2014.
“By then the construction work of the various stadia, including the new Greenfield project at the campus of the Kerala University at Kariyavattom, would also be completed,” he said.
The preparations, he said, would naturally gain momentum once the various sub-committees of the National Games Organising Committee were also activated. “We have enough people in our State with experience to handle the show and deliver the best Games ever,” he said.
Simultaneously, a plan would also be drawn up on how best the infrastructure could be utilised once the Games was over. “The huge investment being made by the State for hosting the Games would absolutely go waste if the students of our schools and colleges do not get the chance to train regular at these state-of-the-art facilities,” Mr. Punnoose added.