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World-class sports centre for Mohali
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 26
Mohali will have a world-class sports centre soon. It will be dedicated to the late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. Spread over about 25 acres, it will be constructed by a Dubai-based company, EMAAR MGF, which has already signed a Rs 5,000 crore memorandum of understanding with the Punjab Government to set up a world-class township at Mohali.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, told The Tribune today that the sports facility, which would be named the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Centre, would come up opposite the cricket stadium at Mohali. “Land is available just opposite the stadium and the centre will be used to produce world-class sportspersons,” Capt Amarinder Singh said.

EMAAR MGF would spend about Rs 80 crore to build the centre. “The Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad, would visit Punjab soon for the ground-breaking ceremony of the township project,” Capt Amarinder Singh said. At that time, the foundation stone of the sports centre would also be laid.

“We will approve this sports project at a meeting of the empowered committee scheduled to be held on January 12,” said Capt Amarinder Singh. In the township project, the Dubai-based company would contribute 38 per cent of the total project cost. The remaining investment would be made by public and other bodies.

The sports centre would have facilities like the best equipment for all major disciplines of sports, a swimming pool and other infrastructure besides well-qualified coaches and other trainers. Facilities for hockey, volleyball, basketball and wrestling would also be available at the centre.

Capt Amarinder Singh said he had useful talks in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with the government authorities concerned. The Abu Dhabi Government was keen on making a huge investment in a hydroelectric project in Punjab.” We have planned a project of 2,000 MW and I hope it will soon materialise because addition to the present power generating capacity in the state is a top priority of my government,” Capt Amarinder Singh said. Even in the housing sector EMAAR would increase its investment in due course, he added.

Capt Amarinder Singh said Punjab needed a world-class sports facility to reestablish its supremacy in this sphere. Actually, the proposal to set up such a sports centre was mooted by Mr Parminder Singh, vice-president of the Punjab Cricket Association and general secretary of the state unit of the Congress. He had sent a detailed proposal in this connection. Later, the proposal was also discussed with Mr Inderjit Singh Bindra, who had suggested the setting up of a trust as was done by the Australian Government to create infrastructure to hold the Olympics in Sydney.

Mr Parminder Singh said while countries like Ethiopia, which were grappling with poverty, had been winning a good number of gold medals at various world sports meets, India, which was emerging as a world economic power, had failed to do so. “For all of us it is a matter of great concern,” he added. “Because of this reason, the proposal for setting up a world-class sports centre at Mohali was mooted,” he added.

He said talented boys and girls from various parts of Punjab should be trained at the centre for national and international competitions. In the absence of proper sports facilities, young Punjabis were going astray and falling prey to drugs, he added.


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