Days after Assams Shiva Thapa,18,qualified for London Olympics becoming,in the process,Indias youngest-ever pugilist to make the cut for the worlds greatest sporting event Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for him. When he will get that cash,Gogoi didnt say. But if past experience is an indication,it wont be anytime soon,if ever.
In 2009,soon after Shiva struck gold at the Youth Olympics,the Gogoi government had announced a Rs 5 lakh incentive for him. However,he is yet to see a penny.
I am perplexed at the announcement yesterday. Shiva has not yet got the Rs 5 lakh that the Assam government announced when he had won a gold medal at the Youth Olympics in Singapore three years ago, said his father,Padam Thapa,a former karate instructor. Once our Dhekiajuli legislator Tanka Bahadur Rai took me to the CM,who,in turn,asked me to see the then Sports minister to find out what happened to the Rs 5 lakh. After that I visited the state secretariat several times but the cheque never came,he added.
Assam Amateur Boxing Association chief Kali Kanta Boro seconded him. I remember the then Sports minister Bharat Chandra Narah making the Rs 5 lakh announcement in 2009 but that is yet to be released, he said.
However,Director of Sports Gaurav Bothra claimed there was no official record of the government making any such promise. Our records show Shiva was paid Rs 1.5 lakh in two installments in 2011, he said.
Padam has sold his house in Guwahati as well as his share of the ancestral property in Dhekiajuli village to fund his sons Olympic dream. We now live in a rented house with our four daughters, Padam said.
He sells furniture to make ends meet. Luckily,our older son Govinda,a former national-level boxer,sends us some money every month now that he has a job in the Army, he said.
Shiva requires about Rs 35,000 a month for his training. It would have been difficult to keep going if not for support from outside the government,Padam said. On Wednesday,the public sector Numaligarh Refinery in Guwahati gave him a cheque for Rs 3 lakh.
Meanwhile,MLA Captain Robin Bordoloi has taken it upon himself to find out what happened to the Rs 5 lakh. I will take up the matter with the concerned department and find out where the cheque is, Bordoloi,a former sports minister,said. He also announced Rs 50,000 from his MLA fund to Shiva.