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March 30, 2020

IPC ministry set to decide on utility of sports fund

Sports

March 30, 2020

ISLAMABAD: An Inter-Pro­vin­cial Committee (IPC) mee­ting has been convened today (Monday) to decide on the utility of pending finances that will lapse in around three months time.

An insider in the Ministry of IPC told ‘The News’ that the meeting has been convened to consider the utility of around Rs500 million available with the ministry for sports purposes (development and non-development funds) and that are to be spent during the next three months or would get lapsed.

The medal winners of Nepal South Asian Games are still awaiting cash incentives and so are the recently victorious Davis Cup squad that made the country proud by beating powerful Slovenia team in Islamabad and thus making sure that Pakistan stays amongst the best tennis playing countries in the world.

The government has recently given a go-ahead to the installation or replacing of three hockey artificial turfs including one at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Ground in Islamabad. These turfs were expected to be replaced or installed till June this year. Under the prevailing scenario it looks highly impossible now that the government would allow the import of these turfs ahead of all essentials required to fight COVID-19. So it looks highly unlikely that the pending amount would be spent on any upgradation or sports infrastructure rebuilding during three-month time. So as Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah Khan suggested there was a dire need to establish a fund to supports sportsmen, women and related workers in this hour of need. No sports activities in recent time have been materialised and there are no chances that such activities can get under way in near future. So the best option is to divert such amount to other needful expenditures.

“We have not been able to open the account for the import of turfs with the authorities as yet what to talk about the importing turfs at this point. It is highly unlikely that we go on to import these turfs if the situation remains the same in near future. An early opening of account could have ensured earlier import but now it looks highly unlikely under the prevailing situation,” one of the officials, when contacted, said.

The IPC ministry at present is facing a big question as what to do with the funds available. Admitted that some of the amount would be spent on administrative purposes but what about the rest of around three to four hundred million rupees that will lapse in three-month time.

The best way would be to either deposit all the amount in PM Fund for COVID-19 or to establish a fund for needy sportsperson and those who entirely depend on sports activities after taking sports federations into confidence and spend the amount accordingly.

‘The News’ has sent all these questions to the spokesperson of ministry of IPC for answers from the minister or secretary. These questions were: The IPC minister has convened a meeting on Monday. Under the given scenario don’t you think the better sense is to divert all the pending financial resources meant for sports for raising fund for sportsmen, women and related workers? Or to deposit all the available kitty in the PM Fund for coronavirus meant for poor people? Don’t you think it is impossible for any country especially the hard-hit Holland to export artificial hockey turfs to Pakistan in near future? All the available funds will lapse in June. It would be a better option to divert these to more constructive purposes? And there will be no better option but to help coronavirus-hit masses and those suffering from total stalemate of activities.

What does government plan for the rehabilitation of virus-hit sportsmen women and for their families? However, despite waiting till filing of this report no answer was received from the ministry. The spokesperson only admitted that a meeting has been convened for Monday where different issues will be discussed. “I am in Lahore. Send your questions and you will get the answers.”