NSC demand budget raise

Kathmandu, September 29:

National Sports Council (NSC) today demanded the government to review the allocation of the sports budget if it wanted the return of its investment.

The government has allocated Rs 190 million to the NSC and the amount will only cover the salaries and administrative costs of the council.

“We cannot do anything with the budget allocated by the government. There will be no tournaments in the country and we will not be able to invest anything for the sportspersons. In this situation, we cannot expect anything in return from the sportspersons, who have been making the nation proud in the past,” said NSC Member Secretary Jeevan Ram Shrestha in an interaction programme organised by the Nepal Sports Journalists Forum.

While there was a raise of about 40 per cent in the total budget presented by the Finance Minister Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai, the NSC received less than the last year’s budget of Rs 20 million. “We had submitted our plans and programmes along with the budget of two billion and 7.7 million rupees as per the instructions of the Youth and Sports Ministry, but the government did not approve our single programme in the budget,” said Shrestha.

Shrestha also said that the council would be unable to do anything regarding the financial matters as there was no development budget. “The budget has not only failed to address the plans and programmes we had proposed, but also has deeply wounded the sports fraternity the way the government has neglected the sector,” he said. “No one is excited as the government’s mind-set towards the sports is not positive,” he accused. “Now the council staff will only draw the salary and enjoy the posts without doing any works,” said Shrestha.

Shrestha hinted the government to get ready to face protest from the sports sector. “The sportspersons have already asked me to organise programmes to pressurise the government, but I told them to wait and see as the ministry has assured me of raising the development budget,” he informed. “If the government fails to re-address the sports budget, the sport-spersons will take to the street against the government,” he warned. “If the government does not want the return, there is no point in investing Rs 190 million in sports,” he added.

The NSC had asked the government to sanction the budget of Rs two billion 7.7 million under the training, tournaments, infrastructure development, implementation of Vision 2020 programmes, national associations’ mobilisation and miscellaneous.

According to Shrestha, the NSC had also planned to study the feasibility of international standard stadium apart from the infrastructure development for the international tournament.

The construction of multi-purpose covered hall, stadiums and grounds, sports academy, sports hostel, ski course, shooting range, swimming pool, cricket academy and grounds, archery ground and golf course in the different parts of the country and the construction of NSC administrative building were the major proposals submitted by the sports supreme body.