Guwahati, Aug. 26: The Olympic movement has gained momentum in Assam after hosting the 33rd National Games in 2007, which led to nurturing performers like boxer Shiva Thapa and a few others.
However, most sports organising bodies in the state are far from satisfied with the results in the last six years “because we have not been able to do what we ought to have done by now owing to acute financial constraints”, to put it in the words of Assam Hockey Association secretary Tapan Das.
“We are too cash-strapped to hold the inter-district tournaments, to send teams to participate in the national tournaments and to hold coaching camps. We have the resources, but we are not being able to utilise them because of lack of involvement of the powers that be,” Das, who is also an assistant secretary of the Assam Olympic Association (AOA), said.
Barring periodical grants from the AOA for the last two years, the state and district sports associations hardly generate any funds to meet their annual expenses, which range between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10 lakh. The state associations incur expenditures mainly in holding the inter-district meets, organising talent hunt and coaching camps and sending teams to participate in national tournaments, apart from maintaining infrastructure.
“We have almost all the cabinet ministers, MLAs as well as chief minister Tarun Gogoi holding posts in the AOA and different state and district sports associations and we also have a whole lot of corporate houses, including multinational companies operating in the state. If the powers that be wish to do so, they can take the help of the government in engaging the corporate sector in raising funds for development of sports like they do in Madhya Pradesh and few other states,” said Das.
Elaborating, he said, “We have 33 disciplines under the AOA’s banner and there are not less than 40 corporate players in the state. Why can’t the government ask corporate houses to adopt one discipline each which could reduce the financial constraint of the state associations?”
Barring cycling, boxing, shooting, wushu, triathlon and few other disciplines, almost all the state associations have political heavyweights, including ministers, as their presidents, working presidents and vice presidents.
In a recent seminar on The Role of the Corporate Sector in Development of Sports, organised here by the Assam Sports Journalists Association, senior executives from Oil India Ltd, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd and others had categorically stated that they were ready to invest in development of sports, provided a specific policy was chalked out.