Top celebs could now perform in front of gigantic crowd in heart of Indian cities with cash strapped government deciding to open doors of stadiums for private functions.
The Sports ministry wants to hand over its stadiums to private players for maintenance by providing them the right to earn revenue through renting space.
"We would allow renting the stadiums for all functions except political rallies, marriages and religious congregations," said a senior sports ministry functionary.
There are 109 stadiums under the Sports Authority of India including one of the biggest in India - Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi - and many more with the state governments. Nehru stadium would be the first to be handed over to a private player, government officials said.
The new Public Private Partnership policy would be applicable to all government policies with the governments not having adequate resources to maintain the stadiums. Nehru stadium would be the first to be handed over to a private player, government officials said.
The Sports ministry found that there was a risk of Rs 10,000 crore spent on development of sports infrastructure for Commonwealth Games in Delhi and National Games in Ranchi going waste with almost zero maintenance.
The ministry has got on average about Rs 1,100 crore in the last two budgets with very little funds of the huge sports infrastructure created. "There isn’t enough money as the ministry budget has been cut after the Commonwealth Games," a senior ministry official explained, pushing the ministry to seek help from private sector.
The Planning Commission has been asked to frame a comprehensive model concession agreement for handing over stadiums to private players with the government having first right to use.
It will mean that for a specified number of days in a year the stadiums would be reserved for sporting activity and in the remaining private events would be allowed, including big international conferences, concerts and fairs would be allowed.
"The bidding process for the stadiums will be through an open and transparent manner," the functionary said, with the winner having to deposit a security amount with the government.