A total of Rs.150.50 crore has been earmarked for sports activities in the Kerala budget for 2011-12. Bulk of this amount, Rs.120 crore, has been set apart for the preparations for the 35 {+t} {+h} National Games to be hosted by the State.

Presenting the budget in the Kerala Assembly on Thursday, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said the State was using the opportunity of hosting the National Games to improve its sports facilities. An action to create infrastructure worth Rs. 500 crore has been put in place, the most important component of it being the construction of Greenfield projects at the Kerala University campus in Kariyavattom, the Central Polytechnic campus in Vattiyoorkavu, the TB hospital campus in Kozhikode and the renovation of the Central Stadium here on an annuity basis costing Rs. 290 crore. The cost of the upgradation of the other related stadia would be to the tune of Rs. 200 crore.

The Finance Minister also announced a package of Rs. 10 crore for the completion of the new stadium projects in Nedumkandom, Thalassery, Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha, Alappuzha and Kunnamkulam. A special allotment of Rs. 1 crore each would be made for the construction of the EMS memorial Stadium in Neeleswaram and the K. Karunakaran Memorial Stadium at Mala.

Further, Rs.3 crore will be set apart for the indoor stadium and swimming complex now being constructed in Palakkad. An amount of Rs. 2 crore will also be spent for the mini stadia in Meenangadi, Kilimanoor and the Pullambara Mathai Chacko sports complex mini stadium. The annual Plan outlay for the Kerala State Sports Council has been pegged at Rs.12 crore. Besides, Rs.1crore will be released for the completion of the Malappuram district sports complex and football academy. This is apart from the Rs. 1 crore the Government had sanctioned for the project a couple of years ago. Dr. Isaac also announced that Rs. 25 lakh each would be provided to the Mercy Kuttan athletics academy and the Kanhikuzhy Progressive Club for setting up the Kalavoor Gopinath volleyball academy.

Umesh, Dars shine

Umesh's unbeaten 81 and Dars's four-wicket haul helped Mattancherry's MYCA brush aside Tripunithura's Scorpions by seven wickets in the 24th BPCL Kochi Refinery all-India cricket tournament's first phase which began at Ambalamugal's Kochi Refinery Ground on Thursday.

The scores (first phase): Scorpions CC, Tripunithura 176 in 29.4 overs. (Dars four for 38) lost to MYCA, Mattancherry 179 for three in 25.1 overs.(Umesh 81 n.o , Pratheesh 48).

Oktopals CC, Thrissur 171 for five in 30 overs. (Shafin 38, Shaiju 32, Renjith 36, Sunil Kumar three for 34) bt Muthoot Honda, Ernakulam 137 in 26.5 overs (Hafnad 32, Gibin three for 38).

Chess tournament

The Kalathipady YMCA all-Kerala chess tournament begins at the Kalathipady YMCA, near Kottayam, on Friday. Over 125 players including prominent stars like M.B. Muralidharan, and O.T. Anilkumar will figure in the three-day event.

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