Govt missive after photos of unhygienic accommodation of players emerge

Shillong, May 2: Sports Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh on Monday instructed sports authorities in the state to ensure that the stay, food and sporting activities for the athletes who were camping in the city for the ensuing Meghalaya Games are of good quality befitting the sportspersons.

“I have received reports that the accommodation, toilets and bath areas are not fit for sports persons. The Meghalaya Games is being organised by the Olympic Association and I have instructed that the facilities for the athletes should be of good quality befitting the sportspersons,” Lyngdoh said in a statement.


The minister’s instruction comes in the wake of a series of photographs of the dilapidated accommodation provided to over 1,000 players on social media.

Taking note of the minister’s directions, office bearers of the Meghalaya State Olympics Association (MSOA) rushed to the camp at Polo grounds to try and ensure that the place of stay, food and bath areas are of better quality.

Earlier in the day, sordid pictures of the sleeping area, toilets and bath areas of the athletes who were camping at JN Stadium here were doing the rounds following which the Minister intervened.

The Sports and Youth Affairs Department has earmarked over Rs 2.2 crore for the Meghalaya Games, of which Rs 1.2 crore has been released to the MSOA for the smooth conduct of the Games.

The photographs showed the utmost unhygienic condition of toilets and living space which the players have to share. An official said that this is the first time that the state has been hosting such a “huge number of players”, about 1,500 of them, and that the Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA) had given the alert that accommodation would be a problem.

Photo sourced

When contacted, John Kharshiing, the working president of MSOA, said he was at the site at Polo where players are being accommodated. “I am inspecting the site. It is good that the issue has been raised and I am here to inspect the place. However, the photographs of the toilets which have been shared on social media are of those which were closed down. There were signs saying ‘Do Not Use’,” he added.

Finely Pariat, who is part of the accommodation committee, said there was no decision to shift the players to another venue. “We have already put up bio-toilets. Six of the 14 toilets are bio-toilets. There was instruction to not use some of the toilets but someone just opened those and took the photos,” said Pariat, and added that MSOA has to stay within the sanctioned budget.

A source said the torrential rain on Monday queered the pitch as the accommodation was not well-guarded and the roofs were leaking.

However, both Pariat and Kharshiing confirmed that women athletes have been put up in separate hostels where they have attached toilets.

The Polo facility is under construction. “The infrastructure is old and repair has not been done. The roofs are also leaking. Pandals have been put up to accommodate the players. The pandals would be definitely leaking. There are complaints of course but shifting them would be difficult as that would incur high cost and we have to go by the budget,” the source told Meghalaya Monitor.

A sports enthusiast said, “As a sports lover, I take strong exception and we must demand that the organisers (MSOA) and the sports department make public the white paper on Meghalaya Games 2022 within 14 days after the closing ceremony. We cannot treat our athletes like this. These pictures are showing the rot in the management of sports in the state. Sadly, the athletes have to bear all these. Sports bodies need a total revamp and let sports persons take the lead, not MLAs, not existing or retired bureaucrats.”

Prior to the games during inspection with field officer in stadium, the organising committee decided not to use these defective toilets which have not been used since long time which is likely to be demolished under the present renovation.

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