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CCL locks horns with govt over sports varsity

The mega sports complex in Hotwar, Ranchi

Ranchi: A dispute that has been simmering between Central Coalfields (CCL) and the state sports department, that together formed Jharkhand State Sports Promotion Society (JSSPS), threatens to disrupt the functioning of sports academies at the Jaipal Singh Munda Mega Sports Complex in Hotwar.

Sources claimed the PSU was unhappy with certain clauses in the Jharkhand State Sports University Bill-2017 that would govern the functioning of a proposed sports university the society is meant to launch. CCL officials in the know said that if the bill was approved in its current form, it would reduce their role to that of a mere sponsor without any say in the affairs of the institution.

The Bill was passed in the winter session of the Assembly in December last year and is now at Raj Bhavan for the governor's consent.

Since its formation two years ago, JSSPS has been running football, wrestling, archery, taekwondo and athletics academies at the Hotwar facility. It has 178 cadets and is now busy inducting 222 more cadets, besides recruiting a bunch of support staff who are expected to join from April.

A fortnight ago, CCL officials in JSSPS wrote to the governor raising their objections to the bill.

"Some 20-25 days back we learnt that in the final bill, JSSPS had not been named as the outfit that would be running the sports varsity. The bill says the sports university would be run by the government with CCL bearing 50 per cent costs of students' intake," said an official.

"This means it will be a state university and JSSPS or CCL won't have much of a say in its functioning. Why will CCL provide funds when the state sports department has all the powers?" he said, adding that they had apprised the governor about these objections.

Well-placed sources in the JSSPS maintained that if CCL's views on the bill weren't addressed, the PSU may gradually disassociate itself from the ambitious project.

The official explained that JSSPS was formed after an MoU was signed by CCL and the state sports department to set up and run the academies and sports university. "The university should, therefore, be run by JSSPS. If that doesn't happen, we don't think, CCL would like to continue in this project and stay on just to provide funds," the official said.

Sources in CCL said they were hoping the government would set up a committee to look into their concerns.

But Anil Kumar Rai, additional secretary of the state sports department who handled the sports university bill, maintained that CCL could not dictate terms to the government.

"Whatever objections they have, they should have informed the department first. These would be looked into and amendments brought in as per set procedures. CCL is our partner for the project, but it can't dictate terms to the government. Stadiums are our property and the final say will always be with the government," he said.

The state sports department and CCL signed an MoU in June 2015. Thereafter, JSSPS was formed under the Societies Registration Act-1860, comprising representatives both from CCL and the government, to autonomously run the academies and a sports university.

This year, the state government plans to induct 222 more cadets who would join 178 youngsters who are already undergoing training in various sports disciplines.

Should sportspeople or babus run a sports university? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com

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