Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday inaugurated the refurbished Bakshi Stadium equipped with world-class facilities which are at par with FIFA standards, officials said. The stadium was dedicated to the public on the occasion of the third anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370.
The historic stadium in Srinagar, which has in the past hosted important functions and celebrations, including Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations, has been upgraded and equipped with world-class facilities which are at par with FIFA standards, the officials said.
They said the seating capacity of the stadium has also been increased and now day-night matches can also be held as flood-lights have been installed. The work for the upgradation of the stadium started in 2016 under a centrally-sponsored scheme. The upgradation work was entrusted to the National Projects Construction Corporation.
One of the major stadiums in J-K, it has undergone a massive renovation with the execution of several upgradation works at a cost of about Rs 50 crore, the officials said. Speaking on the occasion, Sinha said a lot has changed in the last three years in J-K after the revocation of its special status on August 5, 2019.
Projects stuck for decades have been completed and new ones are being completed within limited timeframe, he said. Sinha said the marginalised, the poor and the common people who were facing persecution in the garb of law for decades are also being taken care of.
The widespread corruption resulting from the disorder created by separatism, terrorism and dynasties, kept lakhs of ordinary citizens devoid of basic facilities for decades. After dismantling the old order, we have tried to open doors for the progress of the people, he said.
In an apparent dig at the mainstream politicians here, Sinha said some people say nothing has changed but they should change their eyeglasses. “If you keep looking through the old glasses, then how can you see the change,” he said, as he listed several achievements of the administration in the last three years.
Terming the occasion as historic, the Lt Governor said the stadium upgraded at the cost of Rs 59 crore is one more step towards realising the high-spirited dreams and aspirations of the youth to earn glory through their performances on the field.
He said the stadium has been a central place of the youth for decades, nurturing many dreams and making local sportspersons famous all over the country. This stadium infused the passion of sports into the lives of millions of people and the legacy has been passed to the new generation, he added.
There were clear directions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop MA Stadium in Jammu as per ICC Standards and Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar as per FIFA Standards, he said.
Lauding the determination and dedication of J-K’s young sportspersons, the Lt Governor said the UT administration has assigned top priority to nurture a flourishing sports culture among the youth at the grassroots level in order to identify their talent and provide them opportunities to showcase their skills.
Massive expansion of sports infrastructure is taking place in J-K. New sports facilities are being developed, world-class coaching is being provided to hone the skills of the sportspersons from various sports disciplines, he said.
The Lt Governor expressed hope that people will wholeheartedly contribute towards nation building with full potential and the sporting talent will bring laurels to the country and the UT in the world of sports.
Earlier, Sinha took the ceremonial salute at an impressive march past by the contingents. He marked the start of sports activities in the newly upgraded stadium by kicking the football.
(With PTI Inputs)