Kohima, Jan 28 (PTI) Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio Monday said to develop sports the state government would set up astro turf football ground and would also provide better sports infrastructure in all the district headquarters.

The state government is working on strategic sports infrastructure development plan where every district will have quality sports facilities, Rio said after inaugurating the first astro turf football pitch at the Indira Gandhi stadium here.

“We are engaging proven sports consultants for an infrastructure development plan,” he said.

The chief minister said that the Peoples Democratic Alliance (PDA) government has taken steps to bring back development of sports and games in the state.

To begin with, Rio said the state government is partnering with Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools for a game development plan beginning with young footballers of Nagaland.

“Interested and potential Under 16 footballers from all over Nagaland will get the opportunity to be part of the program which will include exposure events and junior leagues,” he said.

“We have instituted several initiatives under Dr T Ao, our first Olympian and Indias first football captain to the Olympics. We want to pay respect and homage and use his name to inspire the younger generations,” the CM said.

Appealing all sportspersons of Nagaland to rededicate themselves to reach the highest standards, Rio assured to do everything possible to support and promote.

“We are hopeful that a small, yet, significant step has been taken today in producing champions for tomorrow,” he said.

The chief minister congratulated the Department of Youth Resources and Sports for completing the astro turf project here in record time.

The astro turf at Indira Gandhi Stadium here was built at a cost of Rs 4.98 core, said Executive Engineer PWD (Housing) Nimo Kath.

The astro turf has been installed following the specifications and norms of FIFA, he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.