West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced a Rs 2 crore grant for city soccer giants East Bengal for infrastructure development and an annual Rs 50 lakh aid for two years to all clubs playing in the city premier division league.
Speaking at the 97th foundation day ceremony of the East Bengal club, the chief minister called upon the state Sports Department and all soccer clubs to take help of the renowned retired players for grooming budding talents.
“The state government has decided to provide Rs 2 crore to East Bengal to complete renovation of its stadium. All 13 clubs turning out in the premier division of city league, including East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting will get Rs 50 lakh each annually for two years.
“We have limited means. But we will do whatever we can to help these clubs which are going through financial constraints. We will also talk to private companies so that they come forward to help these clubs” she said.
At the function, the Bharat Gaurav (pride of India) award was given in absentia to legendary athlete Milkha Singh. A cheque of Rs 2 lakh and a life membership card of the club was handed over to a representative of Milkha by Banerjee.
Milkha, however, sent an address where he highlighted the city’s love for sports.
The chief minister also gave away the lifetime achievement awards along with a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh each to East Bengal greats Shyam Thapa and Shyamal Ghosh.
Thapa was presented the Ramesh Chandra (Nasha) Sen trophy, while Ghosh got the Byomkesh Bose Memorial Trophy from the chief minister.
The trophy for the best footballer of the year was handed over to South Korean midfielder Do Dong Hyun.
A host of state ministers, former players and a large number of East Bengal fans were present at the programme.