LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that healthy sports activities promote confidence and sportsmen spirit in the youth which help in developing their personality on positive lines as well as accelerate the efforts for nation building.
He expressed these views while addressing a meeting regarding holding of youth festival and promotion of sports activities in the province on Thursday.
He said after the success of Punjab Sports Festival, Punjab government has decided to hold Punjab Youth Festival 2012. He said youth festival would provide ample opportunities to the youth to display their mental and physical capabilities.
The chief minister said more than 50 thousand village councils would be constituted for promotion of sports at union council level in an organised manner. He said members of these councils would play an active role in promoting sports culture at the grass root level.
Shahbaz Sharif said a plan had been evolved to hold international youth festival in Punjab in which sportsmen of 22 different countries would participate. He said this festival would provide an opportunity to witness excellent competitions of Kabbadi, wrestling, cricket, hockey, football, handball, table tennis and martial arts. He said two percent of the budget of district governments had been earmarked for the promotion of sports which will help expand sports activities in 36 districts of the province as well as availability of modern sports facilities to the players. He said that various functions will be held for the encouragement of players participating in Punjab Sports Festival while a policy had been devised for the formation of teams at union council, tehsil and district levels.
He said that besides issuance of health card for the benefit of sportsmen, sports academies will also be established at district and divisional levels. He said that services of experienced players will also be acquired for improving the performance of young players in the academies.
The chief minister said Punjab government had decided to set up sports endowment fund with a sum of Rs.2 billion for providing performance scholarships to the players. He said that Sports Department will acquire services of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund for the distribution of this fund on the basis of merit and transparency. He said that the purpose of establishment of Sports Endowment Fund is to encourage sports activities.
He said that a special committee will be formed in Punjab Educational Endowment Fund for identifying the deserving players and distribution of funds. He said that the players will be given monthly scholarship of 12500 rupees per month from this fund and an annual expenditure of 180 million rupees has been estimated. Shahbaz Sharif further said that Punjab Youth Festival will be arranged at union council, tehsil, district, divisional and provincial level under a phased-programme. Similarly, planning has also been made for holding of Punjab National Youth Festival and Punjab International Sports Festival, he added. The Chief Minister said that besides sports events, various competitions will also be arranged for polishing mental and intellectual faculties of the youth. In addition, competitions of traditional sports of Punjab have also been arranged, he added. He said that sports culture was the first step towards building a healthy society and it also promotes positive social trends.
He said that educated youths were the most precious asset of the country and had the courage and confidence to steer the country out of crises. He said that sports and co-curricular activities help build the personality of the youth on positive lines which will result in the provision of a confident and competent leadership for the country. He appreciated Sports Department for introducing new dimensions to sports activities.