Thiruvananthapuram With Kerala gearing up to host its second National Games next year, the state`s sports infrastructure is expected to get over Rs 600 crore as investment.
Construction of nine new stadiums of international standards is underway in different parts of the state while the upgradation of a number of existing facilities, including two swimming pools and seven indoor stadia, is fast progressing for the 35th edition of the multi-sporting event.
The state is hosting the event after a gap of 27 years.
A squash court, shooting range and hockey turf are also being developed for the games.
According to the National Games Secretariat here, Rs 611.3 crore is estimated to be the budget for organising the much-awaited event, scheduled to be conducted from January 31 to February 14 next. Of this Rs 213.28 crore has been earmarked for building and upgrading of stadia.
While Rs 35 crore has been set apart for purchase of equipment, Rs 60 crore is being spent on the "Games Village", envisaged for the accommodation of over 5000 sportspersons at a time.
Jacobe Punnoose, former DGP and CEO of the 35th National Games, said apart from state-of-the art infrastructure, the convergence of hundreds of sports personalities would help revive interest for sports among the youth here.
"About 90 per cent of the construction or renovation works of the venues has been completed. Some of the pending works are those like the venues for shooting, hockey, tennis, trap and skeet and so on. But, it will also be completed within two-three months," Punnoose said.
A "Green Field Stadium", envisaged as a mammoth sports complex which can provide facilities to conduct various sports events, will be the flagship project being implemented in connection with the Games, he said.
"We are now planning to conduct the opening and closing ceremonies only at the Green Field Stadium at Karyavattom, on the outskirts of the state capital (Thiruvanathapuram).
Once its works are completed, it will be the lone stadium complex in the country which is designed in compliance with the internationally accepted formats of both cricket and football," he said.
A total of Rs 161 crore is expected for its construction, being set up in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode based on the Design, Build Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) model.
The construction of the state`s first squash court was almost completed at Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram at a cost of Rs. 4.17 crore, Punnoose said.
"The state will get a large number of internationally certified stadiums as part of the Games. It will revive the sports aspirations of young talents here. The event will also help the state to be a sought-after host of various national and international events in future," he added.
Over 10,000 delegates including athletes, technical staff and team officials from various states and federations are expected to arrive in Kerala during the time of the Games.