Greedy officials, ministers leave athletes in the lurch
By The New Indian Express
05th July 2012 12:53 AM
International sporting events are not only eagerly awaited by Indian competitors for showcasing their talent, but also by officials of sports bodies and ministries, including the ministers themselves. It is the opportunity to travel abroad at the tax-payer’s expense provided by these events that they eagerly use on the pretext of keeping themselves abreast of the latest developments in the field.
It is hardly surprising, therefore, that among those who are going to London to see the Olympics — not to mention the customary tourist spots — are Kerala’s sports minister K B Ganesh Kumar, sports secretary M Sivasankaran and Kerala sports council president Padmini Thomas. It is not impossible that the minister and the secretary are, for once, well pleased with their portfolio that isn’t a highly coveted one in normal circumstances compared to the more prestigious departments like home and finance.
However, their travelling plans may not have raised any serious objections but for the fact that Kerala’s top athletes are yet to receive the cash award promised by the state way back in 2008 in some cases. If paucity of funds is the reason for this lapse, then the expenditure being incurred by the minister and other non-players becomes all the more inexcusable. Kerala is not the only state indulging in such unwarranted extravagance. Haryana, Punjab and Jharkhand also plan to send their contingents at official expense since the Indian Olympic Association has refused to bear the cost.
None of this is unexpected in a country where the posts of a minister and a bureaucrat are sought not only for the power and pelf they provide, but also for the attendant perks seen as add-ons, for which more often than not rules are conveniently bent, if not broken.
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