SPORT

NGS, KSFL sign path-breaking pact

A major step towards the development of a sports facility on annuity basis, for the first time in the country, was taken here on Wednesday with the signing of the concession agreement between the National Games Secretariat (NGS) and Kariyavattom Sports Facility Limited (KSFL), a special purpose vehicle owned fully by ILFS Transportation Network Limited which had bagged the contract last year.

There was no ceremony to mark the occasion as the CEO of the NGS, Amit Mallick and the KSFL Director, Shivani Parekh sat down to sign the dotted lines, but a great amount relief was visible among the personnel of the two parties, who have been pursuing the whole affair for the last few months with diligence.

Further, the start of the work related to the Greenfield stadium at the Kariyavattom campus of the Kerala University is also certain to help the preparations for the conduct of the 35th National Games, to be hosted by the State, gather pace in the coming days.

Reason for delay

The delay in signing of the agreement was largely due to the dilly dallying approach of the Kerala University top brass in clearing the agreement pertaining to the release on lease of 37-acres of land in which the stadium is to be constructed. The approval of the University finally came in at 1 p.m. on Wednesday paving the way for the signing of the concession agreement, two-and-a-half hours later.

The Kariyavattom stadium is to be the main venue of the National Games and work on the project is now expected to commence within the next ten days. The cost of the project has been estimated at Rs. 161 crore and this would be fully met by KSFL from its own kitty against the right to enjoy full freedom in the operation of the project for the next 15 years.

The State Government would be making graded payments to KSFL the cost of the project during the same period. According to current calculations, the Government would be starting to make the annuity repayments from the third year onwards and is expected to settle the KSFL accounts by 2027. By then, it is also expected that the total outflow from the State exchequer would be to the tune of Rs. 400 crore or slightly more.

The operations of the stadium, once fully developed, would be managed by a 11-member Stadium Management Committee including representatives of the Kerala University and the Government.

As per the Memorandum of Understanding reached between the NGS and the University, the total lease period of the land is for 30 years. The NGS would be paying an annual lease rent of 2.5 per cent to the University, based on the market value of the land.

The MOU has also provisions for the further extension of the lease on mutually agreed basis. The project has also already gained the necessary environmental clearance for the commencement of work at site.

Talking to The Hindu , soon after signing the agreement, Mr. Mallick could hardly contain his happiness. “It is a new milestone as far as Indian sport is concerned. And being part of a process which could really revolutionise the development of sports infrastructure in the country does give us all utmost happiness.

Indeed, the roadblocks were many, but now having surmounted it all, I also hope that the signing of the agreement with the developer and the lease agreement with the Kerala University would lead to our preparations to conduct the National Games in a befitting manner gaining momentum in the coming days.”

The Kariyavattom stadium is to host both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games and is to be used for the conduct of National and international events in football and cricket during the post-Games period.

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