Shillong, Jun 6: Despite time ticking away, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma expressed confidence today that the construction work required for the state to host the 2022 National Games will run on schedule.

“I am confident we will be able to complete the whole exercise on time,” Sangma said after inspecting a site at Umsawli village in New Shillong Township where the main stadium and games village will be situated.

Sangma was accompanied on the inspection by Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh, Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh, Health & Family Welfare Minister AL Hek and various senior civil servants.

The government has estimated that the bill for all the infrastructure that needs to be built for the Games could amount up to Rs 2,000 crore.

It would be impossible for Meghalaya to raise these funds on its own and in this regard members of the government will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to submit detailed proposals to him.

“We will be meeting the Prime Minister in a month’s time to submit the detailed proposals on the plan of the state government for hosting the National Games,” Sangma said. “We are hopeful that the Centre will support us. The meeting with the Prime Minister is crucial and we hope to get a positive response.”

He added that the government could look at private players to bear some of the costs involved, besides various government agencies. The government also met with representatives of the 15th Finance Commission recently and got a “positive response” to a request for financial support.

One area where the central government doesn’t usually provide funds for, the CM said, is the games village, but Meghalaya will take a decision on “four to five options” within a month or so.

The government has allocated 66 acres of land for the village and another 50 acres for the main stadium.

Speaking about the latter, Sangma said that the government has submitted a proposal to the Social Justice Ministry to set up a disabled-friendly stadium in Umsawli as part of the Centre’s plan to build five in the country.

Such a stadium would have a swimming pool, large indoor stadium and a main stadium that could seat 30,000 people.

Time, though, is of the essence. Sangma admitted the challenge of completing the project on time because the heavy monsoon rains largely curtail construction work.

“This kind of event is a huge financial implication. It is not possible for the government to give the green signal without going into detailed plans,” the CM said.

(Photo contributed)

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