In a first of its kind, the Backward Class Welfare Department (BCW) will set up hostels exclusively for tribal boys and girls to provide them training in sports.
The sports which have been identified and in which training will be given to tribal boys and girls include chess, football, athletics and archery. It may be recalled that after coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took up schemes to provide training to SC and ST students and youth to make them self-reliant.
The funds for construction of the hostels that will accommodate around 100 trainees will be provided by West Bengal Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribe Development Finance Corporation. The estimated cost of each hostel would be around Rs 3 crore. It will have all the facilities including a gymnasium, cafeteria, rooms for trainees, lobby, wi-fi facilities and a well-documented library as well.
They will be constructed at Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and two in Kolkata respectively. The accommodation to the hostels will be free of cost. The chosen ones will be brought from the districts and put up in the hostels.
They will be admitted to well-known schools in the city. Already 12 students from the districts have been admitted to reputed schools in South Kolkata.
BCW department has already begun the talent hunt. Around 1,000 tribal boys and girls are being given coaching in the game of chess. They study in classes from V to IX. The students of Eklavya Model residential Schools will also be picked up for the purpose.
Last week, a chess competition was held among the students and the best players were rewarded. A senior official of BCW said many students have shown talent in chess. They have concentration, love for the game and are physically and mentally fit to take coaching.
The official added that the tribal girls have shown skill in football and coaches have said their natural skills should be nurtured. He said in the past few years football has become a popular sport among the girls and every afternoon tribal girls in Birbhum, Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore play the game.
The costly archery kits will be given to those who will receive training free of cost by the corporation. The department will take six to seven months to complete the talent hunt and then their coaching will start. The trainees will be provided with all modern facilities.