Thiruvananthapuram: In probably the single largest initiative for setting up of sports infrastructure in the country, Kerala has set an example by giving the nod for 84 various sports projects across multiple educational institutions and resident associations in the state costing Rs.21 crore.
"This is the first time in the country that such an initiative is being done and the first of the multipurpose courts built at a cost of Rs.2.4 million will be opened today (Monday) at a government school on the city outskirts," said state Sports Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar to reporters here.
The initiative is the brainchild of the film actor-turned-politician and the 47-year- old has promised that each of the projects of varying size will be ready in the second half of 2013.
The projects has been named as SMILE (Sports Minister`s Infrastructural Leap to Excellence).
Included in the multi-purpose facility is a four-lane 100-metre synthetic track, a long jump and high jump pit with synthetic runway, 25-metre swimming pool, an acrylic outdoor badminton court, a synthetic surface football and kabaddi court besides a gallery that can seat 300 people.
The various projects also comprise 39 multipurpose courts of different sizes, five swimming pools, 15 long jump pits with synthetic run-up, a futsal court (five-a-side football), a football surface made out of synthetic grass costing Rs.4.80 crore, two four-lane synthetic tracks, two Kabaddi courts, 16 badminton courts and a pre-fabricated community activity hall.
"The suppliers of these equipment have given a seven-year guarantee and a committee -- comprising the local legislator, the local village council representatives and members drawn from the educational institution where the facility is set up -- will be looking after the day-to-day administration of the facility. All coaching camps recognised by the state government will get the facility free of cost and the organisers can levy a fee if the facility is given out for rent for private tournaments," said Kumar.
The entire work of the projects is being carried out by the National Games secretariat headed by former director general of police Jacob Punnoose.