Close to three years have passed since boxer Manoj Kumar won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee “promised” him a promotion but it still remains a promise due to new ministers taking charge every few months. Manoj,an impressive quarter-finalist at last year’s London Games,says Banerjee promised to promote him as a gazetted officer during a felicitation function after the 2010 CWG,in which he bagged the 64kg gold medal.
But the boxer,who became a Railways employee in 2008,remains a senior Ticket Collector. “During that felicitation,she asked me my post. When I told her that I am a Senior TC,she said ‘what is this,we will promote you to a better post’. She personally promised me,” he recalled.
Banerjee quit the ministry in May 2011 to take over as the Chief Minister of Bengal. Since then,Manoj has been running from pillar to post to get the promised promotion,but with ministers changing every now and then,he has been left in a limbo. “It’s my bad luck. Everytime some headway is made,the minister changes,” he said. The flustered Haryana-lad even got a recommendation letter from Congress MP Naveen Jindal to push his case but could not cut through the bureaucratic red-tapism.
The Railway Ministry has had four ministers since Banerjee,the most recent being C P Joshi,who took over just a couple of days back after a sensational bribery scandal led to Pawan Kumar Bansal’s sacking. Manoj’s representation for promotion was sent to everyone that came in after Banerjee but no progress was made. “We don’t ask for it but if promises are made,they should be fulfilled,” he said.
A promotion would take him to the Area Commercial Manager’s (ACM) post. Jindal’s recommendation states that Manoj’s request for promotion “may be acceded as per rules” but Manoj said it hasn’t helped. In fact,Manoj is not alone in his misery,his fellow boxer Kuldeep Singh,who has won medals for the Railways at the National Championships has been having similar problems. “The rules state that winnings three gold medals at the National entitles us to a promotion but I am still waiting,” he said.
Manoj was felicitated last month during the Railways Establishment Day by Bansal and the boxer said the promise of promotion was repeated there as well. “But even he is gone now and I don’t know how much more time it will take. It is very frustrating,” he said.
Meanwhile,a fit-again Thokchom Nanao Singh and rising pugilist Shiva Thapa are the strong medal bets in a 10-member Indian boxing team that left for Khabarovsk,Russia to compete in the Konstantin Korotkov Memorial International tournament scheduled from May 15 to 20.
Former Asian Championships silver-medallist Nanao,who did not compete at all last year while recovering from injuries,would compete in the 49kg division. “The injuries are behind me now and hopefully this tournament would give a fresh start to my career,” said Nanao,a 2008 youth world champion. The 19-year-old Shiva (56kg) is also coming off a long break from competition given that his previous international event was the London Olympics last year.
“It has been a long break because international suspension meant that we did not go for a few events. Let’s hope everything falls in place soon so that we can go and compete more often,” he said. Also there would be Asian Games silver-medallist V Santhosh Kumar (64kg) along with multiple-time national champion Kuldeep Singh (75kg). “It would be good exposure because we do need to be competitive given that the World Championship is just around the corner (in October),” said India’s Cuban coach Blas Iglesias Fernandes,who is accompanying the team.
Squad: Thokchom Nanao Singh (49kg),Sunil Kumar (52kg),Shiva Thapa (56kg),Vikas Malik (64kg),V Santhosh Kumar (64kg),Dilbag Singh (69kg),Kuldeep Singh (75kg),Rahul (81kg),Jasveer Singh (91kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg).