Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An outlay of Rs. 93.91 crore has been earmarked for sports and games in the Kerala budget presented in the State Assembly by the Finance Minister, Dr. T.M. Thomas Isaac, on Friday.

A lion's share of the outlay, as expected, has been kept apart for the conduct of the 35th National Games which the State will host later this year. The National Games preparations will get Rs. 67 crore during the new fiscal, while the Kerala State Sports Council, the apex body for sports and games development in the State, will be the beneficiary to the tune of Rs. 12 crore for plan schemes and a further Rs. 5.84 crore to meet its non-plan expenditure.

Funds for stadia

Presenting his fifth successive budget, Dr. Isaac said that it has been decided to renovate 23 stadia across the seven host cities by spending Rs. 210 crore and to construct four new stadia by expending a further Rs. 210 crore.

The Minister also said that Rs. 20 lakh each would be provided to the Usha School of Athletics, run by P.T. Usha, Mercykuttan Academy and Pappan Memorial Sports Academy in Varappuzha. Besides, a Tribal Sports Entertainment Centre in the memory of Thalakkal Chandu will be opened in Wayanad.

An amount of Rs. 20 lakh each will be given to football clubs from the State which qualify for the I-league first division. Further, Rs. 2 crore will be set apart for the E.M.S. Memorial Stadium in Neelasawaram (Kasaragod District) and Rs. 1 crore each for the renovation of the stadia at Thalassery and Kunnamkulam.

Sports Year

The Government has decided to celebrate 2010 as Sports Year. A sports calendar has been prepared in connection with it. A special scheme ‘Go for Gold' will be introduced with the objective of winning gold at the 2016 Olympics, he added.

The Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs, according to the budget papers, will receive Rs. 5.03 crore for its expenditure next year. Significantly, Rs. 8 crore has been kept apart for sports activities under the Director of Public Instruction and the Director of Collegiate Education.

Acknowledging the recommendations made to the Government by the State Sports Commission in June last year, a Sports Development Fund will be instituted in Kerala during the next financial year. Also, Rs. 1 crore has been earmarked as the initial corpus of the proposed fund.

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