Appearing to be playing a “panthic” card, the state’s Akali government is going to declare Sikh martial art gatka a recognised sport in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
Disclosing this on Monday during the fifth World Kabaddi Cup matches here, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said the martial art form associated with the Sikh religion and tradition now would be promoted worldwide, like the state government had popularised kabaddi.
“Competitions will be held across the country to promote it. The eligible gatka players will get government jobs and the other facilities available to the athletes of any official sport,” said Sukhbir. Gatka is a form of combat training with wooden sticks and swords. The Sikh Gurus developed it to help defend the faith and fight oppression then. It is very popular among the Nihangs.
Sukhbir said the state government also planned to open sports centers in each of the 146 blocks. “Each centre will have indoor and outdoor stadiums. The government has set aside `1.60 crore for each centre under the programme. The construction of 20 of the centres will begin next month,” he added.
Jobs for 126 players each year
For motivating players, the government would give jobs to 126 every year under the new sport policy, said the deputy CM. The names in the first lot will be cleared at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting. Speaking on the occasion, cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra attributed kabaddi’s new international status to the promotion efforts of the state government.
Rural development minister Sikandar Singh Maluka; chief parliamentary secretary NK Sharma; sports director Tajinder Singh Dhaliwal; and deputy commissioner Varun Roojam were present.