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Mayawati’s 'Chak De UP'!
Is it the recent success story of five UP lads in international cricket or the lackluster approach towards sporting activities in the state by her predecessors, at least Mayawati government seems to be in the Chak De mood and mode.
IS IT the recent success story of five U.P. lads in international cricket or the lackluster approach towards sporting activities in the state by her predecessors, at least the Mayawati government seems to be in the Chak De mood and mode to turn Uttar Pradesh sports-friendly.

Encouraged with the tremendous success of the left arm pace bowler Rudra Pratap Singh or his other illustrious colleagues like Peush Chawla, Suresh Raina, Mohd. Kaif and Praveen Kumar, all grown on home turf, chief minister Mayawati seems to be impressed with them and in right earnest her government’s has announced a grant of Rs.1 lakh to 150 government run higher secondary schools to develop sports paraphernalia in each district during the current financial year. And 82 of 150 such schools are girls’ institutions.

Mayawati also wants proper scheduling of inter school sports competition round the year to inculcate among the youth the feeling that sports is equally important along with education.

The five-member committee of the state government and the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) has already inspected three sites in Lucknow for constructing an international cricket stadium. It may be mentioned that Mayawati had promised to help UPCA in getting a suitable site for developing an international cricket stadium while being the chief guest at the India-Pakistan one day series match at Green Park Kanpur late last year.

The state government is providing free of cost land to the UPCA to develop the international cricket stadium. We have to choose one of the three sites seen for the purpose, the UPCA representative Prem Dhar Pathak said.  While 115 acres of land is on Sultanpur Road, there are two other sites of 65 acres on Rae Bareilly road, which was inspected by a team.

The government has also decided to develop the historic KD Singh Babu swimming pool stadium to an ‘all weather pool’ to promote swimming round the year.

Meanwhile, to give a boost to sports in the state, the government has released a list of inter colleges and higher secondary schools which would receive an annual grant of Rs. one lakh each during 2008.

The government has specifically asked to undertake all kind of sports including cricket, football, volleyball, badminton, hockey and basket ball and said purchases should be made accordingly. Hockey incidentally now, occupies the pride of place (a Chak De India effect).

Deepak Sharma, the coach in Lucknow’s Sports College, better known as mentor of R.P. Singh and Suresh Raina described the development as “very positive and encouraging”.

Anandeshwar Pandey, secretary general of UP Olympics Association said "so far, the grant in this respect was nominal and there was hardly any attempt by school authorities to spend from their own funds to promote sports”.

“Young players have made their mark in the national and international arena on their own talent but we all know schools and colleges are the places where there are many youngsters waiting to be groomed and pushed forward and it is heartening that such a thought was given by the state government,” Pandey said.

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