Sports infrastructure to get a taste of PPP

India?s dismal show at the Olympics seems to have become an eye-opener for the government, with a unique public-private partnership model to build sports infrastructure on the cards.

India?s dismal show at the Olympics seems to have become an eye-opener for the government, with a unique public-private partnership (PPP) model to build sports infrastructure on the cards. The proposal from the sports ministry envisages professional private sector entities to take over the management and control of government-owned sports infrastructure. These firms will then build a commercial model to make these facilities revenue centres. The facilities will also be put to use round the year to encourage a sporting culture.

Sports minister Ajay Maken has written to Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to help it develop a model where this PPP initiative could be launched quickly. It is expected that the commission will prepare a model concession agreement (MCA) for this initiative that could be used by both Centre and states for inviting private sector participation in managing sports infrastructure.

According to a senior government official, the aim is to make sports infrastructure available round the year to the public, which remains locked up otherwise.

Ahluwalia told FE: ?This will be a first of its kind move that will not only help in better upkeep of important sports infrastructure but will also provide a revenue model making these installations self-sustaining. The sports ministry is looking at various means by which a private player will be allowed to give services to the public.?

Sources in the sports ministry say discussions between the Planning Commission and the sports ministry are already underway on the process to be adopted to take the initiative forward. It is expected that the commission would soon lay down the guidelines and set out terms and conditions for appointing of private players in the upkeep of sports facilities.

Though no model is on the table yet, the plan panel feels private players could be roped in to manage the facilities through tendering where interested parties bid on the quantum of revenue to be shared with government bodies in charge of the facilities.

There will also be a minimum qualification criterion for bidders and proven professional ability of companies will be given preference.

?The idea is to utilise the infrastructure which is used only in the cases of some national or international games and otherwise remains locked up for public,? the sports ministry official added.

It is expected that under the PPP initiative, private players would be allowed to open these facilities for citizens on payment of fees. The infrastructure could also be used to conduct business activities, annual general meetings, school games and sports functions, regional games, sports coaching, music concerts, live performances and sports exhibitions. However, officials said conducting wedding ceremonies will not be allowed.

There is an opinion that once such a model is created, maintenance cost can be easily generated with the revenue the government earns from the private player and the public can make use of the infrastructure. The commission is also expected to talk to state governments to adopt similar models for facilities under their jurisdiction so that sports infrastructure created through public money is provided to the public without any special conditions. To begin with, plan panel would prepare a MCA for the centraly-run stadiums and facilities, which could then be proposed to states for adoption.

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First published on: 02-08-2012 at 03:37 IST