AIZAWL: Aiming to further bolster the sports activities, by attracting investment, sports have been accorded industry status in Mizoram, the first State in India to do so, said Sports Minister Robert Romawia Royte. He also expressed confidence that the move will generate employment in the State.
Among the eight north-eastern States, Mizoram, which has a pool of footballers who play for various leading clubs across India, already finds its footprint in the country's sports world, specially in football.
Besides winning Indian Super League, one of the top premier football leagues in India, the state has done well in hockey and weightlifting in recent years.
"Since 2010, at the national level, talks were going on to accord the industrial status to sports. As sports are a state subject, the central government has limited role in this regard. The Mizoram cabinet on Friday granted the industry status to the sports fulfilling a long aspiration of the sports lovers," Royte told IANS over phone.
He said: "With the granting of industrial status to sports, we expect huge investment and multi-faceted benefits and scopes. Besides, all the industrial benefits including subsidies, banking facilities would now be extended to sports. The latest decision would facilitate the generation of employment in the sports sector."
The Mizoram government is finalising fresh industrial policy according to which sports would also get many benefits. The state has a good sports policy too.
Royte, who was the owner of the Aizawl football club and also holds the Tourism Department, said that various industrial bodies including the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry have shown interest after knowing that sports were given the industrial status. "Now it would be very helpful to expand the sports infrastructure at the rural level. Government, private and corporate firms would now be interested in supporting sports," Royte said.
The Minister said that sportspersons should be more professional and competitive.
"Besides, employment generation, through sports, the livelihood of many people should be also ensured. Sports should not be considered just as an entertainment and enjoyment. With the involvement of many men and women in different sports, we can curb various societal negativities specially misuse of drugs," he pointed out.
The Minister further stated that the government has a plan to construct an 'elevated' football ground in Mizoram.
Besides football, hockey, wrestling, there are a number of indigenous games such as, stick fighting, Insuknawra (rod pushing), Kalchhet kal (relay race using bamboo), Inarpathai (cock fighting) in Mizoram.
At least 150 Mizo players are part of the Indian Super League, one of the top premier football leagues in India. (IANS)