In a boost to further promote hockey, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi today initiated a major project to lay Astroturf at Olympian Surjit Hockey Stadium to be completed at a cost of Rs. 4.50 crore.Accompanied by MLA Jalandhar West Sushil Rinku and Mayor Jagdish Raj Raja, the Minister also announced that this stadium would witness the first pro-hockey league after completion of Astroturf project. Sodhi also announced that another Hockey Stadium equipping astroturf, floodlit and other infrastructure would be developed in Jalandhar.While kickstarting this significant project, Rana Gurmit Sodhi said that hockey players would get ultra modern sports facility once the AstroTurf was laid within seven months. The turf was manufactured USA based company FieldTurf, which would be laid by Great Sports Tech of Hyderabad, said the Minister adding that the stadium would also have a sprinkler system along a tubewell.Reiterating resolve of Punjab Government to give a fillip to Hockey at grassroots level, the Minister also appointed Olympian & Dronaachaarya Awardee Rajinder Singh Junior as Chief Hockey Coach.
He also handed over appointment letter to Junior on the occasion assuring him of all support and cooperation to achieve the given task.Unveiling the posters and t-shirts of pro-hockey league, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi said that the league would be organised by the Surjit Hockey Society with participation of 20-teams of different categories. The sports minister said that every possible effort to promote sports and produce national and international level players was being made by the state sports department. Hence, the state government has increased award money besides providing government jobs to sports persons of national and international repute. “The Punjab government was fully committed to ensure high-end sports infrastructure in the state to enable sports persons for securing positions in national as well as International events”, he added.Prominent amongst those present on the occasion included SDM Jai Inder Singh, Secretary Surjit Hockey Society Iqbal Singh Sandhu, Surinder Bhapa, Swimming Coach Umesh Sharma, ADCP Jagjit Saroya etc.