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Rs 16 lakh for fencing Polo Ground

By Correspondent

SHILLONG, May 12 � Meghalaya today reluctantly said it would �work out� to fund about Rs 16 lakh for fencing the ground at Polo here where FIFA has committed to lay an artificial football turf of about Rs four crore.

Much of the spadework for laying the artificial turf has been completed. But FIFA has put its foot down Saturday after its consultant Eric Harrison found that the ground was not fenced which can damage the expensive artificial turf.

The material of the artificial turf is lying in Kolkata, but the FIFA official said during inspection that the project cannot move ahead if the ground is not fenced.

Sport authorities in Meghalaya have to fence the ground so that water does not damage the artificial turf from the nearby Umkhrah River.

Shillong and seven other cities across India have been identified by FIFA for laying the artificial turf as part of its �Win in India with India� programme. Each turf is estimated to cost Rs four crore.

However, Deputy Chief Minister Bindo Lanong, in-charge of sports shrugged responsibility in fencing the ground saying, funds were not available because FIFA didn�t consult the State before the project.

But today bowing to pressure, Lanong said, the fund for fencing the ground would be worked out. �We would put our heads together and work out on the project,� he said.

Football is a rage in Shillong and Lanong himself is a self-proclaimed football fan. Ever since Lajong FC made it to the elite I-league last season, football�s popularity has been increasing.

The ongoing finals of the second division I-league being held here is nonetheless bogged in controversy with the Meghalaya Football Association coming under severe criticism for the poor ground conditions.

In fact, matches are being juggled in two grounds due to deteriorating ground.

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