Haryana may now cut prize money to athletes working for government

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Chandigarh, June 20: The Manohar Lal Khattar Government had proposed in April to slash cash rewards for Haryana’s international medal winners employed with Central organisations such as the Railways and the Army.
The move comes in the wake of a controversy over the Government asking sportspersons employed with the state Government to part with 30% of their earnings from commercial endorsements.
Officials in the Chief Minister’s Office said the proposal to deduct the cash award amount for sportspersons was floated at a meeting held by Chief Minister Khattar.
“The Chief Minister’s proposal is reasonable. Sportspersons who play for other organisations can’t be accommodated. The sports policy also doesn’t allow it. They also get cash awards from their respective organisations,” said one of the officials cited above.
Alok Verma, aide-de camp (ADC) to the Chief Minister, did not respond to calls and text messages seeking comment.
The issue, however, remains far from conclusively settled as Sports Minister Anil Vij expressed opposition to the cut.
Vij said he had proposed a relaxation in the policy for those medal winners who did not represent the state at the national level and played for organisations such as the Railways and Services due to employment or sports training.
“I sent the file to the Chief Minister today proposing this relaxation. I am pretty hopeful we will give cash awards to every medal winner without any deduction,” Vij said.
The relaxation, if approved, will be applicable to medal winners at the Olympics, paralympics, 4-year world championships (restricted to sports disciplines played in the Olympics and paralympics), Asian Games, Para Asian Games, Youth Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Games (para athletes) and Youth Asian Games.
Principal Secretary, Sports, Ashok Khemka refused to comment on the matter.
Leader of the Opposition in Haryana, Abhay Singh Chautala termed the move to reduce the cash award amount as disgraceful.
“While Haryana players are being applauded and appreciated by other states for bringing laurels to the nation, their own state Government is bent on insulting them,” Chautala said.
The Indian National Lok Dal leader said his party will honour the medal winners with cash awards even if the Government doesn’t. (Courtesy: HT)