The state government was discussing a proposal of introducing sports as a compulsory subject in schools, said deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal during a state-level function to honour outstanding sportspersons at Lovely Professional University here on Thursday.
"We plan to make sports a compulsory subject in schools so that young sportspersons get encouragement," he said. The government would will bear expenses for international exposure to outstanding players as the state had created a dedicated sports fund with an outlay of `100 crore, he added.
306 SPORTSPERSONS FETED
Sukhbir also gave away cash awards worth `9 crore to 306 sportspersons who had won laurels for Punjab by bagging medals at the state, national and international levels in various disciplines during 2010-11 to 2014-15. The awardees included Heena Sidhu (shooting) `23 lakh, Prabhjot Bajwa (gymnastics) `22 lakh, Manavjit Sidhu (shooting) `17 lakh, Ranjan Sodhi (shooting) `15 lakh, Mukesh Kumar and Poonam (table tennis) `14 lakh each, Gurbaj Singh (cycling) `13.85 lakh, Navjit Kaur (athletics) `9 lakh, Swaran Singh (rowing) `5 lakh.
When asked about the government's failure in organising panchayat games announced by him last year, the deputy CM said the games would be held soon to revive sports environment at the grassroots level in the state.
'PUNJAB NOT A DRUG-AFFECTED STATE'
Perturbed over labelling Punjab as a drug-affected state, the Sukhbir said it was the best state in the country that fought a war against drugs. He said smugglers from Afghanistan and Pakistan were using Punjab as a transit route. Sukhbir said he was pained when an investor in Mumbai asked him whether his company would be able to find human resource in Punjab as 70% youths were drug addicted in the state.
Speaking on the occasion, secretary (sports) Ashok Gupta said foreign coaches were also being hired for training state sportspersons. He said 125 posts were reserved for outstanding sportspersons directly in the Punjab Police every year.
Chairman, Lovely Professional University, Ashok Mittal said the university would waive tuition fee of all awardees and provide scholarship and free accommodation if they opt to join the institute for further studies.