Lack of infrastructure will not obstruct SAG: KC

Kathmandu, August 15

Minister for Youth and Sports Rajendra Kumar KC reiterated that the 13th South Asian Games slated for 2019 would not be delayed or shifted due to lack of infrastructure.

“We are serious about the hosting of the Games for the third time in Nepal and we are also committed to organise that on time,” KC told the Youth and Sports Sub-committee under the Women, Children, Senior Citizen and Social Welfare Committee. The Committee, headed by Member of Parliament Mohan Rai, had summoned Minister KC to discuss about the 13th SA Games and the controversy in Nepal Olympic Committee.

“The construction of infrastructure is definitely a challenge to us as the building capacity of the country is really low at present. And the system is also not favourable as we have to follow certain procedures as per the Public Procurement Act,” said KC. “We are already in talks with a couple of parties to reconstruct the Dasharath Stadium and we have also planned to request the security forces to upgrade their facilities for the SA Games,” said KC.

Minister KC said he was confident of completing all the construction works and that the infrastructure would not be the reason if the Games was shifted to any other country. “The Chinese government, which constructed the Dasharath Stadium and International Sports Complex before the eighth SAF Games, is ready to help us this time also. I am the Dasharath Stadium will be ready on time and we have certain facilities in Pokhara which can host a couple of events,” he said.

Regarding the NOC controversy, Minister KC said his team was working on bringing all the groups to consensus. “This is a big issue. There is only one NOC in a country all over the world but unfortunately we have three bodies here. As this is a sub judice case, we are waiting for Supreme Court’s final verdict and at the same time trying to find and solution. We have held a series of meetings with all the officials and we are waiting for a outcome accepted by all,” he added.

Secretary at the MoYS Mahesh Prasad Dahal said the construction of infrastructure for the SA Games was not possible on time if we are to follow the procedures. “The government has allocated budget for infrastructure development but the technical capacity of the National Sports Council is very low,” said Dahal. “The present scenario is not satisfactory and we need to at least enter the construction phase without delay. The South Asian Olympic Council will monitor the situation and we need to ensure them that Nepal can prepare the infrastructure for the Games,” he added.

Dahal said the SAG Secretariat, which was established with the budget of one million rupees, was not functioning properly and the two committees formed by previous governments also needed readjustment. He also said that the NOC controversy was hindering the preparation of SA Games and that needed to be solved at the earliest.

Youth and Sports Sub-committee Convenor Rai asked the minister to take bold decisions to act promptly to ensure the hosting of the SA Games on time and take bold decisions to solve NOC controversy. “We have reached the conclusion that the SAG cannot be hosted in Nepal unless the NOC row is sorted out. And we might also lose the hosting rights if we fail to convince the South Asian Olympic Council. If we fail to organise the SAG, it will not only affect thousands of athletes but also push Nepali sports into darkness,” he added. Members of the committee, Nisha Sah, Ramhari Subedi and Jay Prakash Tharu also urged the ministry to take the matters seriously.