Medal-winning Indian para-athlete Suvarna Raj, who is taking part in the 18th National Para Athletics Championships at Panchkula, lamented the poor facilities for the physically challenged at the venue, where apparently even the toilets are not accessible.
“The facilities that should be there for the para-athletes were not provided,” Suvarna said in Panchkula. She even tweeted her plight to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Sir now is 11:25 PM (yesterday), we two women with disabilities are standing on the road at Tau Devilal Stadium, Panchkula. There is no anyone from PCI (Paralympic Committee of India) to help us. We can’t use the toilets here because toilets are not accessible, they people doing same and insulting us..,” she tweeted.
Suvarna told reporters that after she raised her voice, the authorities had shifted her with an attendant to Kisan Bhavan in Sector 14, Panchkula.
“The new accommodation provided is somewhat better. When I raised my voice, we were shifted to Kisan Bhavan, where rooms are at least clean although toilets are not accessible. But I want to ask what about other 2000-2500 players who are taking part in the event,” she asked.
Some other para-athletes taking part in the Championship in Panchkula too had similar tales to share.
“How can I use the toilet. It is narrow and wheel chair cannot go inside. The authorities should have made proper arrangement. Moreover, the rooms too where we have been put up are not in good condition. In some rooms, LPG cylinders have been kept inside, raising safety concerns,” said an athlete on condition of anonymity.
Last year, Suvarna had alleged that she was allotted an upper berth on Nagpur-Delhi train despite having mentioned her disability when booking her tickets, forcing her to sleep on the train’s floor.
When Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was questioned by reporters in Panchkula today about the concerns of the para-athletes, he replied, “We have not got any complaint from anyone so far. When we get a complaint, we will try to redress it”.
Union Minister of State for Planning, Rao Inderjit Singh, who is also the President of the Paralympic Committee of India and Para Sports Association of Haryana, said, “We are committed to provide best facilities to the players. If any shortcomings are found and if we receive any complaint, we will try to redress the same”.
Earlier, Khattar said that the state government would give monthly pension of Rs 2,000 to differently-abled persons from next year and that a Paralympic Bhawan would be build at Faridabad at a cost of Rs 3.11 crore.