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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

After para-athletes raise objections, Haryana to rethink sports policy amendments

Under the new amendments of Haryana Sports Policy, the state government had decided to give Group B jobs to Paralympic and para Asian Games gold medal winners.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh |
February 25, 2021 8:23:42 am
Sports Minister Sandeep Singh meets para-athletes regarding the sports policy, in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Jasbir Malhi

Days after top para-athletes from Haryana faulted Haryana government’s sports policy amendments for being in violation of constitutional right to equality and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, Haryana Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sandeep Singh said the state will do the necessary corrections in the policy and the matter will be sent again to CM Manohar Lal Khattar for rethinking and changing the amendments regarding para-athletes.

Under the new amendments of Haryana Sports Policy, the state government had decided to give Group B jobs to Paralympic and para Asian Games gold medal winners. As compared to this, Group A jobs will be offered to Olympic medalists and Asian Games medal winners apart from introducing differential treatment in other categories too.

“After meeting the players, we have decided to address their concerns regarding the difference in the jobs category being offered to para-athletes and I had detailed discussions with CM ML Khattar in this regard after the concerns were raised. I have directed the officials from my ministry to work in this regard and have told the principal secretary (Sports) and Director Sports to provide solution to these concerns after discussions. We had discussions with the players on a range of issues and their inputs were received with appreciation,” said Singh.

While the Haryana government had stated that Asian para games silver medalists will be offered Category C jobs as compared to Category B jobs offered to Asian Games medalists, there was no provision of job for national para-games winners and Commonwealth Para Games bronze medalists and paralympics and Asian para-games participants. While more than 80 players held a meeting last week at Rohtak, players led by Deepa Malik, president of Paralympic Committee of India and Rio Paralympics silver medalist, met Singh in Chandigarh on Wednesday. “My personal view is that the sports ministry officials had taken the decision based on the perception that there is less competition and events in para category. We raised the point that players are selected for world and continental events after tough selection criteria and based on quota places. The para events are treated at par with the able-bodied events by the International Olympic Committee and the central government too treats both the categories the same. It’s good that the Haryana government will reconsider this amendment. We also raised the issue of making the old and new stadiums and buildings accessible for the para athletes as per the 2016 act and staff should be sensitized about issues of para-athletes,” said Malik, who won the silver medal in shotput F-53 event in Rio Paralympics.

2018 Asian para games gold medalist Ekta Bhyan, two-time world para championship silver medalist Amit Saroha, 2018 Asian para games bronze medalist Rinku Hooda, 2018 Asian para games silver medalist Rampal Chahar were among the other athletes who met Singh. While Haryana government had reduced the age of appointment in Category A posts for players from 50 years to 42 years, the athletes raised this point too.

“We told the sports minister that the events in para games are held according to the disability category and sometimes there are new or different categories in respective events. Devendra Jhajhria, who won gold in 2004 Athens Paralympics, waited for more than 12 years to compete again in Paralympics as his event/category was reintroduced in 2016, where he won the gold. So every performance counts and is as worthy as able bodied athletes. It’s our constitutional right and there cannot be any discrimination based on disability. We also raised the issue of age relaxation being reduced to 42 years,” said Bhyan.

Meanwhile Singh termed the amendments in the job quota under sports as right and said most of the players have appreciated the move of offering jobs only in all categories in the sports department. Under the new rules, outstanding sportspersons will be appointed only on the posts of deputy director (Group A 50 posts), senior coach (Group B 100 posts), coach (Group B 150 posts) and junior coach (Group C 250 posts) rather than HCS or HPS posts. “After the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High court, we took the decision to offer jobs in various groups in the sports department to international and national medalists. The number of jobs in Group A is 50 which is much higher than the earlier quota. While earlier governments and our government too in the past offered HPS and HCS posts, there were lot of issues regarding promotions, training and other things. Our vision is to bring medal winning players to work in the field of sports in the state so that their experience can be utilised in the field of sports. The perks and other facilities remain the same under the various categories of jobs in sports department,” said Singh.

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