Kolkata, Jul 7: The TMC government in West Bengal will be distributing as many as 50,000 footballs on 'Khela Hobe Diwas' the date for which is yet to be fixed -- as part of its efforts to promote the sport among youth, a senior official said on Wednesday.
'Khela Hobe' (game will be played) -- TMC's assembly poll slogan had caught the fancy of Bengal voters, as it was raised at every party programme and campaign. A jingle was also prepared on the slogan, which went viral on social media.
On 'Khela Hobe Diwas', Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be handing over 'Joyee' brand footballs, handmade by the state's refugee handicrafts unit, to various sports clubs, the official maintained.
"The date has not been fixed as yet but it will be observed in July itself. The idea is to attract more number of youth to the sport. We are confident this initiative will achieve its intended goal," he said.
District officials have already submitted names of clubs that are eligible for the initiative to the state secretariat, the official added.
Manas Bhattacharyya, well-known footballer and the chairman of the state Refugee Handicraft (RH) managing committee, said the government's new project will not just promote the sport but also benefit women-run self-help groups and prisoner inmates who have been making these footballs.
Talking to PTI from Dhaka, Bangladesh's ruling Awami League MP Shamim Osman, who is known to have coined the slogan during his party's fight against "anti-liberation forces", said he was pleased to know that West Bengal has decided to take this positive initiative.
"It is good to know that the Bengal CM has decided to observe Khela Hobe Diwas. I had given the call for a different reason, though. I am happy that Mamata Banerjee is using this slogan for a good cause. I thank Mamata didi from the bottom of my heart for this. It's an honour for me," Osman said.