Chandigarh: Following a huge uproar over the order that asked sportspersons from Haryana to deposit one-third of their income earned from professional sports or commercial endorsements to the state sports council, the state government has put the notification on hold.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar tweeted that he has asked the sports department to put the notification on hold till further orders.
“I have asked for the relevant file of Sports Department to be shown to me & the notification dated 30th April to be put on hold till further orders. We are proud of the immense contribution by our sportspersons & I assure them of a just consideration of all issues affecting them,” Khattar tweeted.
I have asked for the relevant file of Sports Department to be shown to me & the notification dated 30th April to be put on hold till further orders.We are proud of the immense contribution by our sportspersons & I assure them of a just consideration of all issues affecting them.— Manohar Lal (@mlkhattar) June 8, 2018
As per the rules, sportspersons employed by the state government would have had to seek extraordinary leave (without pay) during the period of participation in professional sports.
"One-third of the income earned by the sportsperson from professional sports or commercial endorsements will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council. The money shall be used for the development of sports in the State," said the notification issued by Principal Secretary (Sports and Youth Department) Ashok Khemka, dated April 30.
The athletes employed with the state government include boxers Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar, both of whom are DSPs in the state police, hockey captain Sardar Singh and wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat. Sardar, Geeta and Babita are also employed with the Haryana Police.
The “bizarre” move generated sharp criticisms from the Indian athletes who have either not favoured the policy or want the policy to be reviewed.
"This notification will hamper an athletes preparation. How can the government give such an order? We pay taxes over whatever we earn and now this notification to pay one-third," Phogat told news agency PTI. "Can the government understand how much sacrifice an athlete and his or families have to make to earn a medal for the country? The Haryana government should immediately take this order back and review it," she added.
Wrestler Sushil Kumar said, “This policy should be reviewed. Government should establish a committee of senior sportspersons and take their input before forming a policy of this type. This will affect the morale of sportspersons and might affect their performance as well.”
Fellow wrestler and Olympic bronze-medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, also a Railways employee, was harsher in his criticism of the move. "God save us from such officials, who are taking senseless decisions like this. Their contribution to development of sports in Haryana has been zero but I am sure, they will play a big role in the decline of sports in the state," he tweeted.
"Now, athletes will move to other states and these officials will be responsible for this," he added.
(With inputs from agencies...