Mumbai, Feb 17 (PTI) Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao today called for an independent audit of sports infrastructure in schools and colleges, adding that he wanted the state to become the first in the country to make sports a right of the people.

He was speaking at a function held to present the Shiv Chhatrapati State Sports Awards for the years 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.

“Maharashtra has a population of 11.5 crore, which is more than the combined population of Germany, Australia and New Zealand put together. I want Maharashtra to become the first state in the country to make sports the right of the people. It will make ports accessible, affordable and inclusive,” Rao stated.

Rao said involvement of corporates must be sought to build and develop sports infrastructure.

“In this connection, I will ask the Sports Department of Maharashtra to conduct an independent audit of sports infrastructure in schools and colleges. Let us find out how many schools and colleges have proper playgrounds, how many have facilities for indoor games and dedicated coaches for sports. The schools and colleges with the best sports infrastructure should be suitably rewarded,” Rao said.

Rao said that he felt concerned that today there was no room for sports in the schedule of children and even youth, with children in urban and even rural areas spending more time on smart phones and other gadgets.

“Reduced physical activity is causing a lot of physical and emotional problems among children. This is a deeply worrying trend. We must revive and rejuvenate sports to fulfill the dream of a healthy India,” Rao said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.