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By Ikram Khan | 04 Jul 2024 | BANGALORE

The smile is back on the face of the railbirds following the productive meeting of  the Managing Committee of the BTC with the two Government nominated Stewards, Additional Chief Secretary,  LK Atheeq and Police Commissioner,  B Dayananda on Wednesday. The  six-member committee headed by BTC chairman Arvind Raghavan, following the resignation of two Stewards and an identical number of Committee members, who quit  a couple of days ago, will resign after the meeting with the club members scheduled to be held on Saturday. "We need to apprise all our club members, the current situation and the dialogue initiated with the government to seek license and what's in store before we put in our papers," said BTC chairman Arvind Raghavan. The Club, it is learnt explained that the government will need to nominate four members of the club in place of the four who have already resigned to conduct the operations once BTC gains the license, till the next managing committee elections in September. 

It is clear from the government exercise, twice meeting the BTC Committee in quick time, that it is looking to end the stand-off provided the club agrees to a few conditions and the moment BTC reciprocates in the required fashion, it will not be long before the government provides BTC the license to start racing activities at this premier centre. To the credit of the committee, it must be mentioned that in the interest of the sport, four members called it quits first and the rest six too are ready and willing to resign after the Co-option process. It is learnt that the government will appoint all the four new members, two Stewards and two Committee members of their choice and that BTC will have no say in this matter, But nonetheless, BTC has suggested to the government to co-opt people with sound racing knowledge essential to efficiently conduct racing operations. 

License apart, BTC next need to address the shifting of the race course issue and also get the government  to file a Joint Memo before the Supreme Court to seek further time for final hearing of the Civil Appeals bearing No: 3264/3265 of 2015. The word doing the rounds at the corridors of power is that the government is planning to give the Club 110-115 acres of land at the Kunigal Stud Farm and the decision makers of the club, with not many options left to choose have indicated that they will accept the offer with a couple of conditions, five years time period, tax holiday and a few other valid requests. Another bone of contention is that the BTC wants to retain 6-7 acres of land and buildings on the existing  premises to conduct betting operations of  all on-course and off-course betting. The government is in no mood to yield to this request. But in all fairness the government  must honour the  6-7 acre request considering the fact that it is  still getting  72-acres into its fold. The game needs to survive and the onus is on the government to provide the required strength and support.

Now that things are falling in line and BTC has changed its stance, ready and willing to sacrifice and compromise in the interest of the game, the ball is now in the government court and hopefully the government will play the right shot to seal the deal.