THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Unhappy over the management of the Trivandrum Golf Club by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the state government has approached the Centre for taking over the iconic establishment.
The 9-hole golf club, spread across 25.38 acres, was built by the late Maharaja Sree Moolam Tirunal of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore in 1850.
The club was leased out to SAI in 2017 with infrastructure for transforming it into a national academy for the promotion of golf-based tourism. SAI had submitted a detailed project report, which was approved by the Union Ministry of Tourism. Also, an amount of Rs 24.69 crore was sanctioned in this regard in 2017. The Ministry had also allotted 50 per cent of the fund.
Now, Chief Secretary of Kerala Tom Jose has shot off a letter to Radhey Shyam Julaniya, Secretary, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, stating that Trivandrum Golf Club is not functioning properly and that the state government wants the lease agreement to be cancelled.
In the letter, the Chief Secretary said the SAI representative in Thiruvananthapuram - principal of Lakshmibai National College for Physical Education (LNCPE) G Kishore - was not taking active interest in developing the golf tourism circuit.
Jose said the LNCPE principal, even after several representations from the Golf Club members, was reluctant to spend the money lying idle. “I stand by the letter which I have written to the Secretary, Ministry of Sports and Youth affairs. The state government wants the lease agreement cancelled and the amount of Rs 24.69 crore allotted by the Ministry of Tourism to be transferred to Secretary Tourism/Secretary Sports, Government of Kerala, for promotion of golf tourism in the state,” Jose told Express.
Reacting to the issue, G Kishore, who is the representative of SAI in Thiruvananthapuram, said the money allotted to SAI was transferred to the Central Public Works Department for maintenance and development of Golf Club.
“We have done this in a transparent manner, which can be verified. SAI is primarily into training and the children trained by SAI academy here in Golf Club have done extremely well in regional tournaments,” said Kishore.