Former Indian men’s football team captain Baichung Bhutia inaugurated the office of North Bengal Sports Council on Monday morning. He is also the chairman of the council. The setting up of the council was announced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her four-day tour of North Bengal tour last week. The primary aim of the council is to promote sports in north Bengal.
Former table tennis national champion Mantu Ghosh is the vice-chairman of the council. Man Ghisingh, cricketer Wriddhiman saha and Shibshankar Paul are also members of the council. This is the first time when a sports council for north Bengal has been set up.
Inaugurating the council, Bhutia said its main aim would be to promote sports in the seven districts of north Bengal. He said to promote cricket in north Bengal an Indian Premier League-style tournament would be held. However, the date of the tournament is yet to be finalised. He said as the ground is small, he would take up the matter with Cricket Association of Bengal president Sourav Ganguly.
Over the past few decades, sports in north Bengal have been neglected. Except for table tennis, most sports have been lagging behind in the districts. The area has not produced good cricketers or footballers due to lack of a concrete sports policy. The council will also promote games in schools. It may be recalled that in the past itself, the Chief Minister wanted to make sports mandatory in schools.