In a bid to strengthen sports infrastructure, the Odisha cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday, August 9, decided that the state government would set up 89 multi-purpose indoor stadiums in all urban areas. The objective is to produce more Olympians in the coming days.
The project is estimated to cost ₹693.35 crore. These facilities will come up in 18 months. A range of sports and games, including badminton, table tennis and weight lifting, will be promoted.
"The Odisha government has been focusing on the steady development of the sports sector. During the past few years, the State has become a major centre for organisation of sports events. As per 5T (team work, technology, transparency, transformation and time limit) action plan, the transformation in the sector has been thought of," said Tusharkanti Behera, Sports and Youth Services Minister.
These centres will also have facilities to train students in yoga and other physical exercises. Professional coaching at the grassroot level will be imparted. The facilities will be constructed at places where modern sports infrastructure is not available. All these stadiums will be christened as Biju Patnaik Indoor Stadium.
The facilities would also be disaster-proof. They would be built to withstand 200-km wind speed. During disasters like floods and cyclones, they can be used as shelter homes and during health emergencies such as COVID, the stadiums will be used as temporary hospitals.
In the indoor stadiums at Notified Area Council areas can be converted into 50-bed hospitals while in municipalities, they can be easily used as 100-bed hospitals, added Behera.
Odisha's Role In India's Olympic Glory
The state had a huge role in the recent success of both the men and women's hockey teams at the recently-concluded Tokyo Olympics. The state stepped in when Sahara backed out from sponsoring the Indian hockey teams in 2018. Odisha signed a ₹100 crore deal with Hockey India to sponsor both teams over the next five years.
Hockey was revived due to the efforts of the Naveen Patnaik-led government and the men's team was able to win a bronze medal after a long 41 year wait at the Tokyo Games. Similarly, the women's team put up a spectacular show and missed out on a bronze medal by a whisker to Great Britain.