Hockey may be our national game, but when it comes to importance, it usually takes a backseat to cricket.
Hockey India representatives may be realising it all over again and hence, are demanding facilities like waiving of entertainment tax and luxury tax on hotels rooms to be booked for championship delegates, dedicated air-conditioned buses to ferry the athletes and delegates from the venue and practice venues.
But the government officials seem less than keen to meet the requirements and are citing cost as a reason.
Delhi will play host to the Men’s Hockey World Cup between February 28 and March 13. And in an assertive stand before the event,
Hockey India is demanding benefits equal to those being extended to Commonwealth Games delegates. The event will see participation from 12 sporting nations.
Hockey India team met Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta in this connection to put forward their demands.
“They are demanding 15 AC buses for the duration of the championship and preceding that. One AC bus earns revenue of at least Rs 10,000 per day. Also, waiving luxury and entertainment tax would dent the exchequer further,” said a senior Delhi government official, requesting anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The government, in a cabinet meeting on Monday, waived luxury tax on hotel rooms booked by the Commonwealth Games 2010 Organising Committee for its athletes, delegates, sport physicians and international media persons. This is a waiver of Rs 30 crore and has been stipulated under the terms and conditions of the Commonwealth Games contract.
The officials now say that the decision on whether to accord similar relaxation in taxes and facilities for the forthcoming hockey championship has been left to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.