Senior bureaucrats, including IAS and IPS officers, and even the famed 'dabbawalas' of Mumbai chipped in as the Maharashtra government today launched a campaign to create awareness about football, with the country all set to host the FIFA under 17 football World Cup.
Members of Mumbai's Dabbawala Association and school students played here this morning after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated the 'Maharashtra Mission 1 Million' event in south Mumbai.
In coastal Raigad, district collector Vijay Suryawanshi came on the ground dressed in football gear, to the surprise of other officials and school students present.
"This was an occasion to refresh my memories of school, where I played football regularly," the IAS officer said. He asked the students to develop a healthy lifestyle by embracing sports.
In Jalgaon, district Superintendent of Police Datta Karale joined district collector Kishor Raje Nimbalkar in flagging off the local football event there. Karale was also dressed in football gear. The IPS officer attributed his good physique to 'lot of football' played in his school.
As part of 'Mission 1 Million', the state distributed over 90,000 footballs, three each in 30,000 schools across the state, Vinod Tawde, state minister for sports said.
"Maharashtra is the first to organise such an event, wherein average 50 students from each school participated in football matches," the minister said.
To encourage young students to take up football, the government, during the monsoon session in August, had organised a friendly match of legislators from both the Houses of the state legislature.
"The event will promote field games too, as students nowadays are getting addicted to indoor games and video games on cell phones or on computers," Tawde said.
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