Shillong (Meghalaya): With the signing of the Host City Contract for the 39th National Games 2022, a mega national sporting event in Meghalaya, the clock has started ticking for the state government to ensure all infrastructural requirements be completed by 2021.
However, delay in hosting the National Games will also come with a price for the state. As per the penalty clause in the contract, the Meghalaya government will have to pay Rs 2 crore per year after the delay.
The tripartite contract was signed between the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA) and the state government of Meghalaya at a function held at the Main Secretariat here in the city on Thursday.
The state government was represented by the additional chief secretary PW Ingty, while the IOA was being represented by its secretary general Rajeev Mehta and MSOA by its working president John F Kharshiing.
However, the contract was signed in the presence of Urban Affairs Minister Ronnie V Lyngdoh, who at the eleventh hour had to attend the function after the chopper carrying the chief minister Mukul Sangma from Tura could not land due to inclement weather.
A cheque of Rs 4.5 crore was also handed over to the IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta by Lyngdoh as bid money for the games.
According to MSOA officials, the initial amount involved for hosting the National Games in 2022, which will coincides with the celebration of the 50th year of Meghalaya’s statehood, is estimated to be at Rs 2,000 crore.
However, the final budget proposal will be prepared by the chief secretary of the government of Meghalaya.
Speaking to media persons at the sidelines of the function, Mehta said, “It is better (for the government) to fulfil all the things before one year of the commencement of the game. Everything should be finished by 2021. I don’t want to change (this timeline).”
Asked, the secretary general of the IOA said, “In case the state government fails to complete within the timeline, Rs 2 crore per year is the penalty after the delay in hosting of the games.”
Stating that there is no chance for shifting the games, Mehta also informed that out of the total budget for the national games, 30 per cent will be provided by the centre government and 70 per cent by the state government.
He further assured that the IOA is ready to provide all the technical support through its organizing committee required by the state government for the successful hosting of the national games.
Earlier in his speech, Mehta termed the signing of the contract as a golden day for the state of Meghalaya for taking its first step towards hosting the 39th National Games 2022.
According to him, the games will open up opportunities for the North East region to showcase itself to the rest of the country.
Meghalaya government’s bid to host the National Games was made after the state successfully co-hosted the South Asian Games last year following which it placed successfully bid with the Indian Olympic Association to host the 39th National Games.
While delivering his address on the occasion, Urban Affairs Minister Ronnie V Lyngdoh sought the support and cooperation of all the stakeholders towards making the national games a memorable one.
On the other hand, MSOA working president John F Kharshiing said from today the clock will start ticking.
“We have a busy agenda ahead of us towards the XXXIX National Games 2022,” he said while highlighting the crucial role of the chief minister Mukul Sangma and his cabinet colleagues.
“His (Mukul) unwavering commitment and sheer boundless energy, made the difference. His vision was always that with the National Games as a catalyst, we can transform the State,” he said.
Kharshiing said that they hope to see the legacy of the National Games transforming Meghalaya, the poorest segment of the population will benefit the most from this transformation. Meghalaya will transform in different ways.
According to him, the National Games venues could be transformed into public parks and recreational areas for the local population after the Games, further the Games will make a difference in the lives of many young people.
State sports director Matsiewdor W Nongbri said the masterplan of the 39th National Games will be submitted by January 2019.
She said a Working Group, headed by Sports Minister Zenith Sangma, has already been formed apart from a Land Bank Committee and Team Preparation Committee