In conversation with

Madan Mitra
Hon'ble Minister of Sports(Independent Charges) and MoS Fisheries

AITMC Web News Team spent an evening with Sports Minister (Independent Charges) Mr. Madan Mitra at his office (He is also the MoS Fisheries.). Mr. Mitra, complimented the Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee for her initiatives and said Bengal will always recall her contributions and her name will be engraved in history next to Job Charnok. The Minister took out some time from his busy schedule and had an informal chat with the AITMC Web News Team. Here are the excerpts.

How is Sports Ministry preparing itself for the International friendly match featuring Lionel Messi?

This is not initiated by the government. It is being organized by private parties. We have requested the company concerned for subsidized tickets for school and college students. But be sure that the state government is definitely going to do something. If a guest comes to our home, we try to provide the perfect Bengali hospitality to them. We are definitely thinking along this line regarding both the international teams, Argentina and Venezuela, and certainly Messi.

Is Yuva Bharati Krinagan gearing up for this particular match?

Not exactly! Yuva Bharati was being neglected. We have started the process of restoration. Down the line, we are to have other big matches as well as the National Athletics Meet in September, and that would require proper facilities. We have taken the step so that nothing, I repeat, nothing that is unrelated to sports may take place in this sports complex. Dola (Banerjee) and Soma (Biswas) are supervising the restoration and renovation process. We are aiming to meet international standards.

After assuming office you have taken sincere initiative to help Sushmita and Murtaza with financial assistance. Any future plans to provide more help?

I tried to provide some aid to them but the situation is far more serious as many of these players can perform well and bring glory for country if they get some financial assistance. The problem is, our predecessor has left us with a debt of around 2000 Crore which is stopping us from initiating many developmental projects. Still I am trying to help those who are in dire need of financial aid.

Do you plan to incorporate sports as a subject in the education curriculum?

It will be indeed a positive development as then we can expect more budding sport persons in the making but it will not be an easy job as I can’t take such a big decision and need to have detailed discussion with all concerned departments.

Do you feel there will be any objection from the educational institution in this regard?

Frankly, I don’t see any such difference of opinion if we take this matter to them as they already have sports curriculum in their school but we want to make it a subject and students will get marks which will be added to the aggregate. I repeat, this will certainly help us to make sports more effective among the young people.

You have made a suggestion of having a ‘Sports Policy’ similar to the one initiated by Kerala.

Indeed, this is a great initiative taken by the Kerala government which can be called the pioneer in this regard. I am sincerely planning to introduce a Sports Policy which will act in Bengal. This will be more like a ‘Raksha Kavach’ and inspire the young people to take up sports since they will have a financial security. I am trying to explore the avenues.

Most recently you were given the charge of fisheries department. How do you see yourself in the contrasting portfolios?

Honestly, I had no experience of fishery department but being a Bengali we all have weakness for fish and this is what that primarily inspired me. After assuming office and taking rounds of fisheries scenario across the state I feel sad that we require to import fish from other states as we are not only capable of  meeting our needs but can export fish to other states. In fact, we have enough natural habitat and human resources in Bengal to make this a reality.

The biggest challenge that you face is a hindrance in making the above dream a reality?

Nothing is impossible as we need the attitude and initiative to work. Actually, the previous government did nothing to develop fisheries and the challenge I face today is water recourses but I am confident we will find a solution, I make it a point to look for the same whenever I am on a tour to any of the districts.

Do you have any plans in this direction in future?

There is an idea though right now at a very premature stage but I am sincerely nurturing it. I want to create a ‘Khaal-bil’. The idea is to develop a resort with a fishery where the visitors will be able to catch fish and cook on their own. This will not only promote fish farming but would become a major tourist attraction in the state.

Madan Mitra