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Welcome hug from Hotwar sports hub

After a two-year wait, the Rs 650-crore multidisciplinary sporting facility, Morang Gomke Jaipal Singh Munda Mega Sports Complex in Hotwar on the capital outskirts, has apparently opened its arms wide to players and public alike.

A day after The Telegraph came out with a report (Hotwar no-entry for sportspersons) highlighting the state sports department’s delay in kicking off its one-time membership scheme for players at the National Games venue two years after the event, bureaucrats on Monday went on damage-control mode.

Sports Authority of Jharkhand (SAJHA), under the state sports department, promised stadium access for all. For starters, it announced on Monday morning that players could come for forms for the one-time membership facility at Hotwar from Tuesday morning. In the evening, it then went a step ahead by declaring the venue open for sports tourism — all for a small fee.

“Aspiring players who want to avail stadiums at Hotwar for practice can come tomorrow for forms,” a SAJHA official told The Telegraph. “We will issue registration cards as soon as possible after sportspersons pay the relevant fees.”

The one-time membership fee for users is unchanged — Rs 5,000 for amateurs and professional athletes above poverty line and Rs 1,000 for BPL players.

For visitors, SAJHA stadium manager Maruti Thakur said nominal charges had been fixed. “A group of 15 people will pay Rs 50, a single individual Rs 10, a student Rs 6 and a child up to six years of age Rs 3,” Thakur said, adding that the proposal had been in pipeline for long and “finally materialised on Monday”.

Tickets will be available at the main gate and guards deputed at each stadium will assist people, Thakur further added.

Prodded about the one-time membership scheme that the sports department announced on December 3, 2012, through ads but failed to kick off till date, Thakur said it was very much on.

“Around a dozen players so far took forms from SAJHA to avail our one-time membership scheme for practice at our world-class stadiums but did not return with filled-up applications,” Thakur claimed. “That is why we couldn’t kick off officially. But the plan is very much on the cards.”

Why didn’t his immediate senior — Ravi Ranjan Kumar Vikram, deputy director of sports — or any other senior department official know about procured forms when The Telegraph contacted them?

Thakur diplomatically skirted the issue and instead focussed on the “low awareness level” of players.

“I think players aren’t aware about this. But I assure you that whoever comes from tomorrow will get forms and on making payments, we will issue them registration cards as early as possible,” he said, adding they would display advertisements at the main gate and stadiums.

Will the people-friendly face of the Hotwar complex last?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com