A Punjab and Haryana high court division bench comprising justices SK Mittal and HS Sidhu on Monday issued a notice to the Punjab government, principal secretary, sports department and director sports for August 25 on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking disbursement of cash awards to sportspersons as envisaged in the Punjab Sports Policy, 2010.
The PIL was filed by advocate HC Arora seeking issuance of directions for the release of cash awards to all those sportspersons who won medals at the state, national and international tournaments.
The petitioner stated that there were more than 1,000 sportspersons who were waiting for cash awards since 2010. The government has released crores for sportspersons and athletes who have performed well in the international tournaments, but the budding sportspersons who won medals in state and national games have been ignored, said the petitioner.
The petitioner referred to Gurpreet Kaur who won 37 medals and certificates in state and national games and her sister Sumandeep Kaur who won 25 medals. Another sportsperson, Amandeep Kaur, won 12 medals and certificates. The petitioner said these sportspersons, all residents of villages near SAS Nagar, were forced to work as labourers in fields to meet the expanses of their diet and training.
The petitioner said Navjeet Kaur of Amritsar, who won a bronze in the 16th Asian Junior Athletics Championship and two gold medals in the national games in shot put and discus throw, had not been paid even a penny by the state government.
Resultantly, she has threatened to leave India and to study in the US.
The petitioner said Rajwinder Kaur of Kahnuwal village in Gurdaspur district, who won several medals and certificates at the national and state games in netball and hammer throw, suffered an acid attack a few months ago, but the state government failed to give cash award for her achievements.
The petitioner said a visually impaired athlete, Balwinder Kaur Noori, who had also won several medals at the state, national and international level, got Rs 2.25 lakh through an interim order issued by the high court following her petition. The government had resisted her claim saying it was short of funds.