GANGTOK, July 29: Gangtok MLA Dorjee Namgyal Bhutia today in the Assembly suggested for an artificial grass turf in the Paljor Stadium which will not only save maintenance costs of Rs. 15 lakhs annually but also provide the much needed space for sportsperson especially budding footballers in the Capital.It is difficult to find footballers these days because of lack of proper practice ground in the Capital and also that the Paljor Stadium is inaccessible, observed Mr. Bhutia while participating in the discussion of demand of grants placed by Sports and Youth Affairs minister NK Pradhan in the Assembly.“Paljor Stadium is the proud achievement of our government which hosts the football festival of Governor’s Gold Cup annually. However, over the past two-three years, the grass in the football field in not good despite annual maintenance cost of Rs. 15 lakhs”, said the legislature. If we could have an artificial turf in the ground which gives guarantee of 10 to 15 years then we will be saving a lot of money, he added.Raising the issue of alternative grounds in the Capital due to which football is suffering, Mr. Bhutia said that the concerned department must take it seriously and work for an alternative ground. He also suggested for setting up a State Sports Authority to look into the sporting activities in Sikkim.The MLA also said that good football clubs of the nation have not featured in the past few editions of the Governor’s Gold Cup and asked the reasons for this.Replying to the points raised by Mr. Bhutia, the Sports minister NK Pradhan said the department has taken note of the lack of alternative playing grounds in the Capital. In past, every sporting activity used to take place in the Polo ground and now we have the Paljor Stadium which makes it difficult to do things as in past, he said.“We need three months in a year-June, July and August- to grow the grass in the football field of the stadium and during these months we cannot allow the ground for practice”, said Mr. Pradhan said.We understand the need for alternative ground in the capital for which we have already spent Rs. 50,000 for developing Sichey ground which we are soon expanding into the size of an international football field, said the minister. He also said that department is trying to make the Tadong Government College ground into an alternative ground. We may go for artificial turf in this ground, he added.