Civic body’s sports policy in sorry state

PUNE: In 2012, Add Crazy Pune had got its first-ever sports policy. Apart from promoting sports activities in the city, the policy had also promised to protect land earmarked for playgrounds, and also to promote sports development for children.
Four years later, much of that remains only on paper, mostly as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has yet to appoint a deputy commissioner for sports. Other initiatives under the policy , such as scholarships for national-level players, too have failed to take wing.
The policy , which lays out guidelines to construct sports complexes and develop grounds, was drafted in consultation with the city’s sportspersons, coaches, and sports organizations.Since then, it only gathered dust.
And this, when corporators are pressing for a new scheme to recruit sportspersons into the PMC. Elected members insist that the administration implements the policy.
“We have been demanding it for long, but high-ranking officers such as deputy commissioner for sports have not been appointed,” said Vishal Tambe, PMC corporation.
“Politics is affecting sports development in the city. The policy was amended many times to accommodate various leaders. The administration should have taken steps to follow the suggestions,” said Avinash Bagwe, former chairman of the committee which drafted the policy.
Promoting sports activities at the school, college, and professional levels was key to the policy, said Bagwell, adding these duties can be executed only by an officer with adequate powers. The lack of such an officer has pushed sports onto the backfoot.
As per the policy , sports activity centers will be set up in different parts of the city .The 1987 development plan had reserved 70 hectares of land in various parts of the city for playgrounds. However, the PMC has so far acquired only about 10 hectares of it.Moreover, several plots of land reserved for sports grounds are lying unused. Some of them have even been encroached upon.
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