There are delays and there are interminable delays. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has denied its elite trainees in Haryana training kits for so long that they have lost all hope of getting them.
While the kits for last year never arrived, the tender for the ones this year is gathering dust at the SAI headquarters in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here. Only three months are left for the financial closing.
Every residential and day-boarder trainee is entitled to a kit worth Rs 4,000 once a year, but over 21 months have passed and kits for all the SAI Training Centres (STCs) in Haryana, including the elite Bhiwani and Hisar centers, are yet to arrive.
There are a total of 140 trainees (90 residential and 50 day-boarders) at STC Bhiwani and more than 230 trainees, including 140 residential, at STC Hisar. Besides, there are more than 600 residential and day-boarding trainees who come under the SAI Northern Regional Centre in Sonepat.
"We've already invited tenders for this year's training kits and sent them to the head office. As soon as we get the clearance, the procurement process will begin," said Mukesh Kumar, director in-charge, Sonepat.
On the delay in procurement of the last year's kits, he said, "Now, our priority is to procure kits for the current year. We have also written to the head office regarding last year's kits."
The total expenditure on kits at Sonepat is around Rs 40 lakh per year. A player gets a tracksuit, two T-shirts, warm-up shoes, two shorts, two pairs of socks, a bag and playing shoes, besides kits for specific games. "For grass-root level players, these kits are a big motivation as many cannot afford them," said a STC Bhiwani player.