Shangpliang flags contrasting figures presented by Sports Minister in house

SHILLONG: Meghalaya Sports Minister, Banteidor Lyngdoh informed that during 2018-19, an amount of Rs 49,05,000 was sanctioned to assist 36 sports associations to participate and conduct tournaments and during 2019-20, an amount of Rs 34, 39, 150 has been sanctioned to assist 64 sports associations.

He was replying to queries on sports associations in the state during the question hour at the Autumn Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

However, Shangpliang who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly asserted that figure provided by the minister in the Assembly was different from the figure provided by the Department of Sports during the PAC review meeting. Shangpliang rued that two different figures had come out for the same purpose and asked the minister how the amount was compiled.

The minister informed that he would find out about the discrepancy and would let the MLA know.

In a supplementary, Shangpliang asked how much money was spent for construction of stadium. However, Banteidor said it was a different question to which Shangpliang remarked that it was not a different question and informed that in 2018, Rs 10, 83, 36, 000 had been sanctioned for construction of stadium, out of which Rs 43 lakh was spent by the department.

He asked on why so much importance has been laid for construction of stadiums to the tune of Rs 10 crore, to which the Sports Minister said that he would look into it. To this, Shangpliang said, “You give nuts, you get monkeys.”

Rescuing the Sports Minister who faced a barrage of questions from Shangpliang, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the numbers provided were correct pertaining to the financial assistance to Sports Associations.

As for “peanuts given to monkeys”, he said the government would address the issue.

He said that the amount sanctioned to Sports Associations in 2015-16 Rs 29 lakhs, 2016-17 is Rs 29 lakh, in 2017-18 nothing was sanction, and in 2018-19, Rs 49 lakh was sanction.

Pointing to the figure, he added that it had been a trend for a long time but said the government would work out on how to support them and was in the process of improving them.

 Shangpliang said that Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA) had selected 15 athletes and had applied for funds from the department to which Banteidor said the department was on the process to sanction.

Shangpliang again asked about projected amount. To this query, Conrad stood up and said the association projected an amount of Rs 41 crore which he said was a huge figure but said that the government was examining the matter and would move forward.

On the other hand, Shangpliang said that sports persons had missed out on national and zonal championship due to non release of funds by the government and said the proposals were delayed, not sanctioned or kept in abeyance.

He pointed out that the East Zone Championship in Ranchi was held and sports persons missed the bus and pointing to the 59th National Open Athletics Championships 2019, Shangpliang asked, “Are we going to miss this again?”

Stating that Shangpliang was a former Director of Sports, the Sports Minister said, “I’m a sports person. I love sports from the bottom of my heart. I’m trying to streamline the department. Sixty MLAs come and ask for help for infrastructure or any other kind.”

To which Shangpliang said, “We are not getting any.” Again, Banteidor said, “It is not easy to streamline the department overnight. I urge the MLAs to meet me from time to time to streamline the department.”

Eager to get a direct answer from Banteidor, Shangpliang said he wanted to know that whether the sports persons will take part or not. “Yes, sir, I’ll do my best. They will participate in Ranchi” to which Shangpliang interrupted and said it is in Bengaluru. The Sports minister quickly said not in Ranchi but will participate in other places also.

However, contradicting the Sports Minister, Conrad said the team from Meghalaya has gone to Ranchi. Shangpliang said, “Thanks to the CM, he knows that the team has gone to Ranchi.”

In reply to a query raised by PT Sawkmie, the CM said Rs 201 crore in 2019-20 is the amount budgeted.

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