Delhi’s hazardous smog has taken its toll on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Khelo India project. The inaugural Khelo India Games have been postponed to the second fortnight of January. The games were originally scheduled for December.
The event organizers, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports fear the Capital city will not get much reprieve from the toxic smog during December. Thus, it is decided to delay the much-awaited multi-discipline school level games by a month. The organizers also feared that the days during the month of December are shorter, which will make it difficult to make up for any time lost to on account of delayed starts or interruptions on account of poor weather conditions.
Sports Authority of India has forwarded a note to this effect to the Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who has consented to reschedule the event to a later date in January. The Prime Minister was supposed to inaugurate ‘Sports for All’ and ‘Sports for Excellence’ tentatively on December 21 and all 16 sports federations, whose disciplines were included in the programme, were told not to hold any event in the Capital as it would clash with government’s big push.
“Yes, we have postponed it due to weather conditions,” daily Tribune has quoted a source as saying. “We also anticipate trains getting delayed at that time due to fog. So it has been postponed to January end,” he added.
Khelo India is PM Modi’s big push to “raise the standard of competition, both at the school and college level”.
In September this year, the Union Cabinet had approved this revamped programme and approved Rs 1,756 crore for the year 2017-2020. Archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, football, gymnastics, hockey, judo, kabaddi, kho-kho, shooting, swimming, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling competitions will be held across various venues in New Delhi during the event.
The scheme plans to give 1000 young athletes a scholarship of Rs five lakh each and reach out to 200 million children.
Star Sports have come on board for television production and broadcast of the event.