The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha's games village
- Rs 250-cr, Asiad-style multi-discipline sports complex in Howrah

All work and no play cannot be the coaching manual in Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's Bengal. The sporty chief minister ' who bats for Sourav Ganguly at the slightest chance ' has now padded up for an integrated sports complex, on the lines of the Asiad Village in New Delhi.

The 250-crore sports complex, to be rolled out as a joint venture with a private partner, will come up on a 100-acre plot at Dumurjala, in Howrah, around three km from Vidyasagar Setu.

Officials in the sports department confirmed that this would be the first major sports complex to be built in the Left Front regime.

'We have already identified the land and started preliminary work, including selecting the private partner and preparing the plan. We have invited bids and received offers from private parties with expertise in this field. We hope to proceed soon after the election process is over,' special secretary in the sports department K.N. Behra told Metro on Friday.

According to Behra, this will be 'an integrated, multi-discipline sports complex', the first of its kind in the region .

'Besides arenas for hosting competitive events in different games, the complex will have comprehensive state-of-the-art infrastructure for training under one roof,' he added.

The plan provides for two football pitches, one cricket ground, volleyball, badminton and tennis courts, an international-standard swimming pool, athletics track and hockey ground.

There will also be provision for traditional sports like kabaddi and kho-kho.

The value-adds will be a mini-auditorium, a 500-bed hostel, a shopping mall, an entertainment centre, a guest house and staff quarters.

The private partner will bear the cost of construction of the complex as well as its maintenance. It can recover cost through rentals and fees from various agencies for letting out the facilities for holding tournaments and coaching camps.

The sports department will provide administrative support and may bear a portion of the maintenance cost.

Once the need for an integrated sports complex to produce sportsmen from the state was established ' following repeated pleas from leading sports personalities in Bengal ' the chief minister directed officials from the sports department to scout for a suitable plot.

'After checking out New Town, Rajarhat and Bantala, we finally chose Dumurjala. The main advantage of this place is that it is beyond city limits, yet very well connected. Also, it is easy to procure the land here,' explained an official from the sports department.

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