While Anisa Sayyed relaxed in the athlete’s lounge after winning the silver in the 25m air pistol event at the Commonwealth Games at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre in Glasgow on Saturday, the 34-year-old’s booming laughter was cut short, albeit momentarily after a question by Rahi Sarnobat, the gold winner from Maharashtra.
Sarnobat asked Anisa, who is also from the state, whether she expected any reward from the Pune Municipal Corporation, considering she was born and brought up in Pune. Anisa’s face darkened for a minute. “I am still waiting for the reward they (PMC) promised me for winning the gold four years ago. This time around, I have only won the silver. Do you think I should even expect anything?” she said.
Anisa who clinched two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi had been promised a 450 square feet flat and a cash reward of Rs 2.99 lakh by the PMC. After follow ups by Anisa and her sister, she was offered a 250 sq feet flat in a slum rehabilitation building in Aundh at a monthly rent of Rs 450. Also there’s no sign of the cash reward.
“My sister who is a policewoman has been running around the PMC almost every week for the last four years, making applications and meeting officials. Earlier, the authorities said they would give me a flat, then they said they will give a 250 square feet flat on rent. We declined to accept the dingy fifth floor flat as the building doesn’t even have a lift and it’s too small for my parents to stay in,” said Anisa.
The same happened to the cash reward.
Anisa’s husband Mubarak Husain said that when they approached the PMC authorities enquiring about the cash reward, they were bluntly told that as the Maharashtra Government has already given a cash reward, there was no need for PMC to do the same.
“It seems to me that all these are tactics to get publicity and nothing else. You announce some reward in front of a dozen media personnel and later quietly tell us that we won’t be given any. We felt quite sad about this behaviour by the PMC,” he said.
Anisa echoes the feeling by saying the PMC shouldn’t have announced the reward. “If they cannot afford to give me money then they shouldn’t have announced it. It is not like I forced them to give me an award.”
Anisa stays in Delhi to be closer to the Karni Singh shooting range and said the latest reason the PMC came up with is she is not a resident of Pune any more. “Now they said since after marriage I have been staying longer in continued…