No takers of Govt initiative of promoting Football in J&K
JAMMU, Jan 23: At the time when big announcements are being made by the visiting Union Ministers for development of the newly carved Union Territory, mysterious disappearance of an official proposal for taking services of an international Footballer to promote the game in Jammu and Kashmir reveals the fate of such Government initiatives here.
Notwithstanding the keen interest shown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself for encouraging football game in Jammu and Kashmir, for which Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar was refurbished especially for this particular game by spending Rs 40 crores and Football Academy was also established with its units at District level across J&K, some hidden hand in the Administrative Department managed to stall the vital exercise of taking services of international footballer for honing the budding players.
It may sound incredible but is true that the official proposal, prepared on approval of K Vijay Kumar- then Advisor to the Governor Satya Pal Malik, for placement of services of international Footballer Arun Malhotra to the J&K State Sports Council has mysteriously disappeared from the Government files.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the proposal in this regard was sent by the State Sports Council to Secretary Youth Services and Sports, Civil Secretariat, Srinagar on October 3, 2019 vide number SC/3130-31, to take up the matter with ONGC for placing service of Arun Malhotra at the disposal of Sports Council.
“On the basis of his (Arun Malhotra) case history and vast sports achievements/performance in Football discipline, we require his service to engage maximum young energetic youth of J&K towards this discipline being a popular game in J&K for coaching purpose. His services in J&K State Sports Council will furtherance sports and also strengthen the State Football Academy of Sports Council,” read the official communication, a copy of which was also forwarded to then Advisor K Vijay Kumar, who had already taken informal consent of Arun Malhotra for his services to Football game in J&K.
Pertinent to mention that Arun Malhotra of Jammu, presently working as Senior Officer in ONGC Dehradun (Uttarakhand), is a well known sports personality and former International Football player of India, who has been honoured with State and national awards for his services in the field of sports. He has played a number of international Football matches and represented India besides giving training to prominent teams and Clubs.
Keeping in view of the outstanding performance and experience of Arun Malhotra, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir had desired to take his services on deputation basis and in this regard, then Advisor to the Governor, K Vijay Kumar had personally met this international Footballer and informally discussed with him the proposal for taking his consent, sources said. As Arun purportedly expressed willingness in extending his services for promotion of Football game in his home State, the Advisor directed the concerned authorities to take up the matter with ONGC for deputation of the player, sources added.
In the backdrop of this development, Secretary State Sports Council prepared a formal proposal and forwarded the same to Secretary Youth Services and Sports urging to take up the matter with ONGC for placing services of Arun Malhotra at the disposal of Sports Council on deputation basis, as approved by Advisor K Vijay Kumar.
As the State of J&K turned into Union Territory on October 31, 2019 and K Vijay Kumar relinquished the post of Advisor, the vital proposal went missing under mysterious circumstances and hence there was zero progress on the initiative during the last more than three months, sources informed.
Confirming that there was no progress on the official communication forwarded by him to the Youth Services and Sports, Secretary State Sports Council, Naseem Choudhary was, however, still hopeful of a positive outcome on the matter. “Being a local, Arun Malhotra can play vital role in promotion of Football in Jammu Kashmir and we need such sportspersons,” he said.
When contacted, Arun Malhotra confirmed that he was called by then Advisor K Vijay Kumar for seeking his consent on the proposal. “I had conveyed him my willingness to serve my home State but I don’t know whether the process in this regard was further initiated by the Government or not,” he told the Excelsior and reiterated his desire to train budding Footballers in J&K where only four coaches have been engaged for training the players at 22 Football Academy units across the UT.