New Delhi: Under its legacy utilisation plan, Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Sunday launched the nationwide `Come and Play` scheme, opening SAI`s sporting infrastructure for the youth across the length and breath of the country.
The scheme is targeted at the 8-17 age group and would ensure access to more than 80 Sports Authority of India facilities for the sports loving citizens of the country.
The objective of the scheme is to impart coaching primarily to beginners, not only to broad base sports but for optimum utilisation of the infrastructure available.
"We have asked SAI to have separate coaches to train these kids. When we launched it in Delhi we had maximum of 12,000 people per day using it. We expect similar kind of response from other centres also," Maken said at a function organised at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium here.
"It is a simple scheme. The forms are available at the SAI website. Whosoever wants to use, can avail it at a nominal fee of Rs 45 for boys and Rs 15 per month for girls. For BPL family it is free. One has to submit the form at the SAI centers," he said.
Under the scheme, age specific competitions would be conducted twice a year and the first three position holders in the relevant age groups would be allowed to participate in competitions organised for selection of trainees for admission to Boarding scheme in SAI training centres.
"The idea of the scheme is that these facilities should not be only used by the elite sports persons. Some slot will be reserved for them but otherwise it should be open for students for the rest of the day. Looking at the success in Delhi, I am hopeful that we will get a good number of students using the infrastructure," Maken added.
`Come and Play` scheme was first initiated by Maken at various SAI stadia in the city on April 15 for the use by school children, students, sports person as also the common people.
Asked about the hockey impasse, Maken said the ministry will try to negotiate with the warring bodies during its meeting with the Indian Olympic Association, Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation on October 14.
"We have tried earlier also and as I have announced on October 14th again we are calling IOA, HI and IHF. We will wait for the outcome because earlier the government was asked by the apex court to mediate between these warring factions and HI and IHF was brought into a common meeting point," he said.
"Unfortunately, FIH doesn`t agree with the points that IHF and HI agreed to so the idea is to bring all these bodies at a meeting point again and try to negotiate with them and find a meeting point," he added.
Among others, the event was also attended by SAI Director General Desh Deepak Verma and Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik.