Odisha Sun Times Sports Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 25:
The sports lovers in Odisha’s Sundargarh district have taken strong exception to attempts by the state Sports and Youth Affairs department to shift the Hockey Excellence Centre (HEC) at Panposh at Rourkela to Bhubaneswar.
Sundargarh happens to be the cradle of hockey in Odisha and has produced almost all national and international players who have made the state and the country proud.
Reliable sources said, the department’s move to bring all the 60 HEC trainees comprising 30 boys and 30 girls from Panposh to the sports hostel at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar is part of the clandestine plot to shift the prized institution from Rourkela.
These trainees have reportedly been given assurances that they will be provided with improved infrastructure and better training in Bhubaneswar.
Local hockey enthusiasts say the department has deliberately not made any effort to induct new trainees in the HEC because of its undisclosed plan to run the Centre in Bhubaneswar.
Requesting anonymity, a senior official of the Sports and Youths Affairs department said as scheduled, the HEC trainees would be shifted to Bhubaneswar in May this year.
He also informed that the department is yet to take a decision on whether to close down the HEC and run a new one in Bhubaneswar.
“In case of protests against shifting of the HEC, the department has alternatively thought of continuing the centre at Panposh with a relaxation of rules in which the trainees from the Sports Hostel at Kalinga Stadium would be sent to HEC while some new talents would be inducted in the Sports Hostel.
“However, it is true that there is a plan to shift the HEC to Bhubaneswar and it will be carried out if the resistance to idea is feeble and limited to a few people”, the official conceded.