Shillong, Apr 1: The JN Sports Complex, the nerve centre for sports in Meghalaya, will be transformed into a state-of-the-art hospitality, entertainment and educational venue, sources have informed TSR.

The planned redevelopment of the complex is tied to the National Games, which Meghalaya will host in 2022. The idea is to sell off the land on which the complex sits in order to raise funds to build infrastructure for the Games on cheaper land outside Shillong.

No politicians or civil servants were willing to confirm the plan, keeping in mind the upcoming general election and fears of breaching the model code of conduct. However, TSR has been able to speak to one prospective buyer of Second and Third Ground and a contractor who is tasked with partial work on the redevelopment of the JN Stadium into a 500-room hotel.

The JN Stadium project will be completed by the 2022 Games and will first house athletes from around the country before being turned into a hotel as part of the deal between the state government, Shillong Recreational Ground Trust (SRGT) and the buyer of the land on which the JN Stadium sits, the contractor, IM Aliar, said.

The prospective buyer who is looking at Second and Third Ground refused to be named, but did say that she plans to turn the area into a fun park, as Polo has become “too dull and depressing” over the years.

TSR has also heard that the tennis courts and adjacent building are being eyed by a big businessman with ties to a national political party who wants to start a residential training institute for chowkidars (watchmen).

Redevelopment plans are also in the works for First Ground and the MCA Cricket Ground, though TSR doesn’t have details on these.

Proceeds from the sale of the properties will be split between the government, SRGT and sports associations. The government will use the monies earned to invest in the vast amount of sports infrastructure required for the National Games in less congested areas of the state on land that will be cheaper than a central location like Polo Ground.

TSR also reached out to a high-level member of the SRGT for comment, but he didn’t say much.

“I cannot comment on this issue. All I can do is wish your readers a happy April Fools’ Day,” he said.

(TSR photo)

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