Shillong, March, 5: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma laid the foundation stone for the construction of a cutting-edge synthetic artificial Football Turf at the Umbuda football ground in Ri Bhoi. The event, held on March 5, underscores the government’s unwavering commitment to fostering athletic talent and promoting sporting excellence in the region.

This is one of many foundation stones for turf all around the state organized by the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs in collaboration with Dorbar Shnong Umbuda and Umbuda Sports and Cultural Club, this groundbreaking ceremony witnessed the esteemed presence of Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Conrad K Sangma, Hon’ble Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Shri Shakliar Warjri, Hon’ble MLA Nongpoh and Chairman of Meghalaya State Health Advisory Board Shri Mayral Born Syiem, alongside all traditional heads and other dignitaries.

Expressing his fervent support for the initiative, Sangma emphasized the significance of this project, stating, “Friends, you’ll be happy to know that the sports department is currently experiencing unprecedented growth, marking a significant milestone in the history of our state. Presently, we have projects worth Rs 700 crores underway, with an additional Rs 200 crores already sanctioned and another Rs 200 crores slated for approval in the near future. Under the MDA government’s tenure, we anticipate an investment exceeding Rs 1000 crores in the sports sector alone. Notably, the construction of the state’s largest stadium in Mawknu, valued at Rs 385 crores, is underway in the new Shillong Township area. This particular foundation stone laying ceremony is just one of the examples of the commitment that we have towards the young generation and the youth of our state and the synthetic artificial football turf is anticipated to complete within 18 months.”

Sangma also said, “I’m pleased to announce that a sum of Rs 13.88 crores has been allocated for the construction of a track and field stadium in Ri Bhoi district, providing aspiring athletes with the facilities they need to excel on a national and international stage. Looking ahead, the forthcoming financial budget for 2024-2025 earmarks approximately Rs 2,800 crores for youth-centric initiatives encompassing infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, music, and culture. Our aim is to provide ample opportunities for our youth to pursue their passions and realise their full potential.”

In his remarks, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Shakliar Warjri, highlighted the transformative impact of the synthetic artificial football turf on the sporting landscape of Ri Bhoi, remarking, “We have achieved remarkable milestones within just one year of this Government’s tenure. Furthermore, in the span of 12 months, we have successfully inaugurated over 10 stadiums across the State. With the goal of enhancing sports and wellness, we encourage all youths to diligently pursue their passions, whether it be football or any other discipline. We are dedicated to providing all necessary facilities for the betterment of our state’s youth, empowering them to excel State level even at the national level. Thanks to the relentless efforts of our local MLA, Bah Mayralborn Syiem, we are witnessing the laying of this foundation stone for the establishment of artificial turf in Ri Bhoi.”

He added, “The project cost of the synthetic artificial football turf amounts to approximately Rs 10.93 crore. It’s essential to note that our investments in Ri Bhoi are driven by the potential we see in the youth of this region. These endeavours are not solely for our benefit but for the prosperity of every citizen and youth in our State. The success of the 5th Meghalaya Games in Tura highlights our significant investment in youth development in terms of sports and wellness. Under the leadership of our Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Conrad K Sangma, we are steadily turning our dreams into reality.”In its continuous stride towards enhancing sports infrastructure in the state, this endeavor to construct the state-of-the-art facility reflects the government’s vision to providing football enthusiasts with a conducive environment to refine their skills. Moreover, the facility is poised to serve as a vibrant hub for fostering community engagement through sports and cultural activities, aligning with the government’s overarching goal of promoting healthy lifestyles, nurturing talent, and fostering a culture of sportsmanship within the community.