July 1, 2017 12:40 AM NPT
By: AJAY PHUYAL
KATHMANDU, July 1: National Sports Council (NSC), which has failed to make any notable progress regarding the preparation to host the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) despite postponing the date by 20 months, has formed a new committee under Lama Tendi Sherpa on Friday, assigning it to expedite infrastructure development works.
The then Minister for Youth and Sports Satya Narayan Mandal was handed over the SAG flag during the closing ceremony of the 12th SAG held in India on February 16, last year, with Nepal promising to organize the 13th edition of the South Asian sports festival in February 2018.
However, the ministry and Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) postponed the date to March 2019 after poor progress in the preparations including infrastructure development.
Six months after receiving the SAG flag, the main organizing committee and a monitoring committee under the then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was formed. Around the same time, another organizing committee under the ministry was formed alongside infrastructure construction sub-committee under Tashi Ghale. Although the ministry had said that it would form other sub-committees, that hasn't happened at all.
The committee formed by NSC under internationally recognized Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC)'s General Secretary Lama Tendi Sherpa includes NSC's member Arjun Bahadur KC and Nepal Trithalion Association (NTA)'s General Secretary Nilendra Shrestha. Likewise, the ministry's under secreatry, NSC's administration chief Basudev Acharya and engineer Arun Upadhyay are also in the committee.
NSC has assigned the committee to uncover the needed budget for the construction of the infrastructures as well as to prepare a report about the condition of the existing infrastructures and budget required for renovating them. NSC has also told the committee make slogan, song, logo and mascot for SAG. However, the NSC hasn't provided any timeframe to complete the assigned work to the newly formed committee.
Nepal had hosted the inaugural and eight editions of SAG while India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have organized it once or more than once. However, other member nations Bhutan, the Maldives and Afghanistan haven't hosted the event yet.
Meanwhile, three years ago, NOC had told the Nepal Government that the country hasn't sufficient infrastructures to host the SAG. A task force of the NOC formed under Bishnu Gopal Shrestha had suggested to the government to construct new infrastructures and renovate the existing ones in the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara, Dharan and Birgunj in order to host the 13th SAG successfully. Construction of new stadium having a capacity of 50,000 spectators in Khumaltar of Lalitpur, new covered hall in Kirtipur, Pokhara, Dharan and Birgunj were among the suggestions the task force had given to the government.
Meanwhile NSC's Member Secretary Keshav Kumar Bista accepted that the progress regarding the preparation has been sluggish. “We should have started the work much earlier. It is very hard to conduct the meetings of the main organizing committee formed under prime minister and the committee formed under the minister for youth and sports and it hasn't helped in the preparation,” said Bista. “Since those committees are formed under the leadership of higher authorities, we can't dictate them. This is likely to halt the preparation so we decided to form new a committee in order to increase the pace of preparation.”
He also claimed that the preparation will be completed on time if the government allocates the required budget on time. “Given the new methodology and technology, a covered hall can be built within three months. If the government provides us money on time, we can finish all the preparations within three months,” Bista further added.