Kanchanmala Pande case: Sports ministry blames Paralympic Committee of India, seeks report


first_imgSwinging into action a day after Mail Today reported the harrowing experience of Indian para swimmers while competing in Berlin, Sports Minister Vijay Goel has sought a report from Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) within ten days.Goel promised to investigate the matter as to how the sanctioned government funds did not reach the para swimmers on time.Mail Today on Tuesday reported that visibly challenged swimmer Kanchanmala Pande qualified for the World Swimming Championships on the back of an ill-fated experience of having to bear expenses despite having no money and having to pay for accommodation and food. She became the only female swimmer from India to qualify for the World Para Swimming Championships this year.India’s top sportspersons from Abhinav Bindra to Mahesh Bhupathi reacted with shock on knowing about the incident and took to Twitter to voice their disgust, asking the authorities to see that such incidents are not repeated.Goel, however, cleared the air in a statement that the funds were released to PCI on June 22 on behalf of the Sports Ministry.”The Ministry through SAI released Rs 3.21 Lakh as 75 per cent of dues as advance payment to Para Olympic Committee of India in time and arranged tickets etc. This amount was transferred in the account of PCI on June 22, 2017. Since the amount was transferred to the account of PCI, the players should not have been put to any hardship,” the ministry said in a statement.’VERY UNFORTUNATE'”In the wake of the news reports Vijay Goel also spoke to the CEO, PCI. They have informed him that for some reasons the money was not further transferred by PCI to the team members. The minister found this as very unfortunate and has ordered that a report from the PCI be sought in the matter within ten days,” it added.advertisementAccording to a report, PCI vice president Gurusharan Singh has stated that “the sanctioned amount from SAI came five days before the departure of the athletes but “we could not withdraw the money as Justice (Retd) Kailash Gambhir, Chairman of Committee, was not available to clear the funds.”Interestingly, a SAI official confirmed Mail Today that the fund was in fact transferred to PCI’s bank account on June 22 – a good ten days prior to the event and is shocked with the federation’s denial.”As per the policy, SAI has transferred 75 per cent of the fund allocated for the event to the PCI account on June 22. We also have a receipt for the same. The remaining 25 per cent will be settled after the event, as per our norms. We have our own travel agency from where we book tickets for the athletes so that was already sought. I don’t understand why PCI is blaming us for not sending the money on time,” said the official on condition of anonymity.Mail Today has a copy of the sanction letter sent by SAI to PCI.HISTORY OF CONTROVERSIESThe national governing body is no stranger to controversies, been suspended for almost a year between 2015 to 2016 due to internal conflicts.The ban was temporarily lifted by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on May 31 last year, clearing way for para athletes to participate in Rio Paralympics.IPC had also made it clear that the suspension can be reimposed if PCI fails to implement the reforms outlined by world governing body.During her troublesome trip to Europe, Kanchanmala, 26, beat the qualifying mark in 100m Freestyle (1:34:00), 100m Backstroke (1:41:00), 100m Breaststroke (2:01:00) and 200m Individual Medley (3:03:00), in which she also picked up a silver medal.Kanchan and her escort Jaimala Pande were part of the Berlin contingent that was granted sponsorship by the government. The PCI failed to provide her the money stating that SAI didn’t sanction the fund on time.OUTRAGEKanchan’s story sparked a nationwide outrage, with Indian Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra leading the outcry.”This is UNACCEPTABLE. People must be held accountable. @VijayGoelBJP @narendramodi. A sports legislation which mandates all federations to professionalise is the only way ahead for Indian sport,” tweeted Bindra.”Against all Odds has been every sportspersons story in India at some level but this is an all time low. #shameful #disgrace,” contemplated India’s Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi.IPC vice president Rajesh Tomar also voiced his concerns, calling it an unfortunate incident. “I was shocked to read about it. We as part of the IPC are also looking at the betterment of athletes. It is very unfortunate that such a thing has happened. Hope things get better for us in the future,” he said.advertisementALSO READ | Ignored by authorities, Indian para-athlete forced to beg, borrow money in Berlin ALSO WATCH | The road ahead for Indian sports and Para athleteslast_img

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