Papon wants to increase sports ground and facilities

Nazmul Hassan Papon, the newly appointed Minister of Youth and Sports, vowed to increase the sports ground and facilities in a bid to attract more people toward sports.

Following his swearing in as Minister for Youth and Sports on Thursday, Papon, also the president of the country’s influential federation Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) spent his first working day this morning in the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Later, he went to National Sports Council (NSC) which is responsible to look after the country’s federations.

While the NSC is busy with building stadiums across the country, Papon made it clear that he is not in favour of making stadium, rather he wants more open playgrounds which could attract the people to take sports seriously.

“I am in favour of sports rather than making stadiums. I don’t think we need stadiums everywhere,” Papon told the reporters today at the NSC.

“Which is more important is to have open playgrounds with facilities like dressing rooms so that the people have access to enter the grounds and play there,” he added.

The enthusiasm is palpable as Papon reached NSC as the first full-time Minister of Ministry of Youth and Sports after 1990.

There was no room to step into the small conference room of the NSC. In recent times, there has not been such a large crowd at the arrival of any Minister in charge of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The situation turned to bit chaotic because of large number of crowd who were trying to receive the Minister with flower bucket.

Papon later said he would try to make the things here disciplined while indicating the chaotic situation. Almost all of the BCB directors, who generally don’t come to the NSC, were present during this time.

As a Minister of Youth and Sports, Papon is also the chairman of the NSC.

Citing the issue of sports ground shortage in Dhaka, the Minister brought forward the problem of cricket, “There are no such sports ground in Dhaka except Mirpur Stadium. As a result, Mirpur is under a lot of pressure and because of this the quality of wicket is not satisfactory enough,” he added.

Highlighting the issue of Stadium construction and renovation maintenance, he said, “We have many stadiums. Many stadiums are locked, and many stadiums are not open to all. So I felt the urge to review these issues, first we need to see how many stadiums there are and how many of them are active. Then I’ll take action accordingly.”

The budget of the Ministry of Youth and Sports is a little over Tk 1000 crore. A lot of money goes into the youth sector. Most of the money that comes into sports arena is largely used to infrastructure construction and administrative expenses. The thing which is alarming is that the ‘Sports training’ gets relatively little allocation. Along with training, infrastructure construction is also necessary, the new Minister said.

“While training is necessary, infrastructure construction is also necessary. Players need to get good and quality facilities for their training,” he added.

Expressing his determination to promote all kinds of sports, the minister said, “We have the potential to do well in other sports including football and cricket. But first we need to fix our priorities. The various sports federations, which receive financial support from us, have to set a specific target. They should tell where they want to go, what they want to achieve after the next three years. I will sit down with each federation individually shortly. I will listen to their problems and possibilities.”

“Many of our federations are doing well. Our football is moving forward. Women footballers in particular are doing well. Men’s football have also improved. Shooting, archery and many others are improving,” he added.

Papon vowed to give all kinds of cooperation to raise other sports to international standards like cricket. He concluded by saying that the overall development of the country’s youth group will be given top priority. BSS

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