Monday, Sep 26, 2022
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Why Babita Phogat, Sushil Kumar Among Haryana Sportspersons Are Angry Over Khattar Government

Haryana government has decided to cut one-third of income of the sportspersons, even from professional sports and commercial endorsements, sparking a backlash.

The Haryana government on Friday ordered sportspersons employed with it to deposit one-third of their earnings from commercial and professional commitments to the state sports council, drawing sharp criticism from the athletes.

"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.

The athletes employed with the state government include star boxers Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar, both of whom are DSPs in state police, hockey captain Sardar Singh and wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat. Sardar, Geeta and Babita are also employed with the Haryana Police.

Of them, Babita, who won a silver at the Gold Coast CWG, was the first one to react to the move, calling it disheartening.

"I am saddened by notification. It seems as if illiterate people are making policies. Do they not know that we're already paying taxes on money we win in competitions. If this is how things are going to work the medal count will go down," ANI quoted Babita Phogat as saying.

She further added: "This notification will hamper an athlete's preparation. How can the government give such an order? We pay taxes over whatever we earn and now this notification to pay one-third."

"This policy should be reviewed. Govt should establish a committee of senior sportspersons & take their input before forming a policy of this type. This will affect the morale of sportspersons & might affect their performance as well," Indian freestyle wrestler Sushil Kumar told ANI.

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 warned.

The Haryana government had courted controversy earlier in April as well over a proposed cut in prize money for the Commonwealth Games medal winners from the state who were employed with other departments or states units like the Railways and Services.

"Everyone is aware that Haryana gives highest award money. What we had said is that we will deduct the prize money that they get from their employer, in case of any, from the total reward money," Haryana sports minister Anil Vij had said back then.

(With Agency Inputs)

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