Shillong, Apr 19: The football pitch at the under renovation JN Stadium will be up to FIFA standards so that Shillong will be able to host international level matches, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said while on an inspection of the site today.

The stadium, which has hosted international women’s football matches, will feature a new natural grass turf and “state-of-the-art” facilities for track and field events.

Laying emphasis on the quality of construction, the CM informed that the highest quality standards are being maintained and, once ready, the stadium will be fit to host international sporting events. “We are going to meet FIFA standards and this particular stadium and the football field will be at par to host any international games in the future,” Sangma said of the 30,000 seater stadium, work on which will be completed by December. Work has been divided into two phases, with Rs 34.75 crore for the first and Rs 18.20 crore for the second.

However, the big spend is on the adjacent indoor sports hall, which is getting a huge facelift that will cost Rs 125 crore.

Dubbed the Integrated Hospitality and Sports Complex, it will comprise a 700-seater multi sports hall and convention hall, house 12 badminton courts, an independent banquet hall with dedicated kitchen facility, 200 seater basketball/futsal courts, two squash courts and space for 10 table tennis tables as well as a 10m and 25m shooting range.

It will be the largest such indoor complex in the North East, Sangma said confidently.

Expressing his happiness at the progress of the work, the CM said that, once complete, it will give the youth of the state opportunities to excel in their respective disciplines.

During his visit, the CM also called in on the First Ground stadium, which belongs to the Shillong Sports Association. Work of Rs 14.81 crore is currently going on here to lay a new artificial turf and construct one section of stands.

Meanwhile, Sangma also said that the state government is in the process of identifying local practice grounds in Meghalaya and taking steps to upgrade and improve the selected grounds for the benefit of football lovers.

“The government has decided that we are going to take up different locality fields and football grounds in all parts of the state where our youth normally play football and, in collaboration with the community and local leaders, we want to upgrade these grounds with better facilities,” he said.

Five locations have been pinpointed in Shillong where artificial grass will be laid.

“That will be one of the steps towards ensuring that we are able to bring out the talent and give the opportunity for the youth who are passionate about football,” the CM added.

(CMO photo)

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