Minister promises new sports policy for Punjab

The state’s sports policy was last amended in 2009.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh | Published: July 5, 2018 8:16:53 am
Rana Gurmeet Sodhi in Mohali on Wednesday. (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

Punjab’s Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Rana Gurmeet Sodhi said Wednesday that the state’s sports policy would be amended with focus on increasing reservation for sportspersons, apart from enhancing cash awards.

The state’s sports policy was last amended in 2009.

Sodhi, who attended a function organised by the Punjab Olympic Association in Mohali, also said the pending cash awards would be given to the state’s players at a function soon.

“It has been nearly 10 years that Punjab’s sports policy has not be reviewed. My focus is to secure jobs for sportspersons. I will also discuss with the Cabinet and CM about increasing the current three per cent reservations for sportspersons in government jobs. Enhancing cash awards for national and international medal winners will also be taken up. Issues like player training, coach training and diet money also need to addressed. We are going to hire psychologists to spot talent and advise players accordingly,” said Sodhi, who is a MLA from Guruharsahai.

Over the last two decades, Punjab’s representation in the medal winners’ list has gone down. In this year’s Commonwealth Games, players from Punjab won four medals as compared to 22 won by neighbouring Haryana.

Sodhi said sports was as a way to tackle the drug menace and shared the stage government’s plans to hold Punjab School Games. “We want youths to go to the stadiums and sports will be the passion for them. If they have job security and medal aspirations, they will not go towards drugs. We are in talks with Education Department to start Punjab School Games and we will be preparing A, B and C list of priority sports,” said Sodhi, who himself is a former international-level shooter.

Earlier this week, there were reports about Punjab cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur’s degree certificate being a fake and the state home department setting up an inquiry over the issue. “Harmanpreet is an international athlete and if there is a misinformation provided, it will be dealt with accordingly. I fully agree there should be a criteria for all the sportspersons to apply for jobs and if there is a need of relaxation (in terms of educational qualification) to be given, the legalities can be discussed or amended. Regarding the cash awards, the state government will soon hold a function. We are currently in the process of scrutinising the national and international medal winners list and the government will also give the pending Maharaj Ranjit Singh awards till 2017,” Sodhi said.

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