Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: Underscoring the Centre’s push to help aspiring sportspersons shine on the global stage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said his government was not only supporting athletes at every level but also changing the general outlook towards sports in the country.
Addressing a sizeable gathering after laying the foundation stone for a new international cricket stadium at Varanasi, PM Modi said the sheer scale of success of Indian athletes at global events was an affirmation of the changing national outlook when it comes to sports.
He added that India created history in the World University Games this year, winning more medals this edition than they did in all previous editions taken together.
“The continuing success stories that we are scripting in the world of sports today is a testament to the changing outlook towards it. Our government is helping sportspersons at every level, TOPS is one such scheme of the government,” PM Modi said.
He said the new cricket stadium would be a boon not only for the youth of Varanasi but also for Purvanchal.
“This stadium in the city of ‘Mahadev’ will be dedicated to the Lord himself. I am hopeful that sportspersons here will benefit from this stadium, which will be equipped with all modern-day amenities and sporting infrastructure. This stadium will emerge as the star of the Purvanchal region,” PM Modi added.
He said the country’s first multi-leveled sports complex, equipped to cater to the needs of disabled athletes, was also on the anvil.
Also conveying his best wishes to the Indian contingent for the Hangzhou Asian Games, which will be formally declared open later on Saturday, PM Modi said, “The Asian Games are starting today and I wish to extend my good wishes to all our athletes participating in the tournament,” PM Modi said.
Noting further that the world was connecting with India through cricket, he added, “New countries are emerging as cricketing nations. It goes without saying that the volume of cricket matches will increase even further in the coming days. With so many matches, there is a need for more international stadiums to host them. I am hopeful that this new international stadium in Varanasi will go some way to fulfilling the changing needs of the sport.”
Once opened, this stadium will have the capacity to seat more than 30,000 spectators, he informed.
The foundation stone laying for the new stadium was also attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, BCCI secretary Jay Shah, president Roger Binny and vice-president Rajeev Shukla.
Speaking on occasion, CM Yogi said, “On behalf of every sports enthusiast in the state, I feel glad and privileged to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi for laying the foundation stone for this grand, new cricket stadium in Varanasi.”
Thanking PM Modi for “gifting” the stadium to the cricket buffs of his state, the CM added, “This stadium is under construction under the ‘Smart City Mission’ of the central government. This is the third international cricket stadium of Uttar Pradesh and the first to be constructed under the direct supervision of the BCCI. It will provide a platform to aspiring cricketers from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. I would like to thank BCCI and PM Modi for this gift for the people of Uttar Pradesh,” CM Yogi said.
The international cricket stadium in Varanasi will be a step towards realising the Prime Minister’s vision to develop modern world-class sports infrastructure. The modern international cricket stadium, to be built in Ganjari, Rajatalab, Varanasi will be developed in a more than 30-acre area, at a cost of about Rs 450 crores.
The Uttar Pradesh government has spent Rs 121 crore on land acquisition for the stadium while the BCCI will spend a further Rs 330 crore on its construction.
The thematic architecture of this stadium draws inspiration from Lord Shiva, with crescent-shaped roof covers, trident-shaped floodlights, a seating arrangement resembling the flights of stairs at ghats, and Bilvipatra-shaped metallic sheets on the facade.