Punjab to host 14th National Youth Festival at Amritsar

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Chandigarh, Jun 11 (UNI) Punjab will host the 14th National Youth Festival at Amritsar from January 12-16 to showcase the diversity of Indian culture at its best.

The decision to allot the prestigious event to the state was taken at a meeting between Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Dr Manohar Singh Gill with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal held in New Delhi today.

Chief Minister's Media Advisor Harcharan Bains told news persons that the festival would be organised jointly by the Centre and the state government, which would spend Rs 2 crore each.

Meanwhile, the Centre today also agreed, in principle, to undertake a sports promotion programme in Punjab.

The programme would be covered under the Panchayat Yuva Khel and Krirha Abhyaan (PYKKA) and would encompass all the 12229 villages of the state.

Under this scheme, each village would be provided a sum of Rs 1 lakh for developing sports ground, Rs 50,000 for the purchase of sports equipment for 5 years and Rs 10,000 annually for organising tournaments and sports competitions.

He said 10 per cent of all the villages would be taken under this scheme every year. Accordingly, 1229 villages would be covered under this project during the current fiscal year.

Dr Gill said that Rs 2.5 crore were being sanctioned for the construction of Youth Hostel at Tarn Taran for which the state government had already identified a piece of land measuring 3 acres.

The Union Minister also agreed to the state government's proposal to re-activate the six Nehru Yuvak Kendras at Mohali, Barnala, Tarn Taran, Nawanshaher, Moga and Mansa, which have been lying in a state of neglect for past many years.

The Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister accepted the state government's proposal to strengthen the rural sports infrastructure in the state, especially in the disadvantaged Malwa belt.

A sports hostel for girl trainees at the Sports Authority of India's (SAI) Training Centre and a world class swimming pool would be constructed at village Badal.

Dr. Gill also assured the Chief Minister that his Ministry would soon take up the issue of the reimbursement of Rs 5 crore spent by the Punjab Government on first Indo-Pak Games, 2004.

Similarly, the existing sports infrastructure for the promotion of hockey and football in the state would be upgraded in order to revive the pristine glory of these games in which Punjab once dominated at the national level.

UNI XC JN VN1823

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