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Sports trip lined up without sportsmen

New Delhi, June 14: Corporators here wish to head to France, Germany, the UK and the US to beat the heat. The ostensible purpose is “to study sports training in primary schools”.

The only hitch is that bureaucrats are not clearing the trip.

At a cost of Rs 10 lakh to the exchequer, Municipal Corporation of Delhi members want to study how sports training is imparted in developed countries.

Many corporation schools function in tents and do not have playing grounds, leave alone adequate sports infrastructure.

While the corporators wish to visit other nations to study sports training, they don’t want a physical instructor in the team.

Although the Delhi urban development department is not in favour of the trip, the Congress government is pushing for it as it wants to keep the corporators in good humour with Assembly elections round the corner.

The party-ruled corporation’s sports panel sent a proposal on December 3 last year to the urban development department, seeking clearance for the trip.

But the department said the committee should outline what it wanted to do and should include students in the team. It said the trip, if cleared, should take place in summer.

Panel chairman Vari Ram Kaur who is also deputy mayor, wrote back saying that improving sports performance “of primary schoolchildren is one of the normal duties of the corporation; hence no plan needs to be proposed”.

But the department shot down the proposal. “It is observed that though the trip is purportedly for studying sports training in foreign parts, not a single physical education teacher has been included who actually can walk the talk,” additional secretary (urban development) S.P. Sodhi wrote on June 2.

He said there was no justification for a trip that would cost Rs 8-10 lakh.

But the corporators are still keen on the trip, a source said. Urban development minister A.K. Walia is believed to assured them the trip will go ahead, but on one condition — he wants the delegation to be downsized and a physical education instructor added to the contingent.

However, the decision to clear the trip ultimately lies with chief minister Sheila Dikshit, the source added.

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