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MPs rebut ministry’s claim

Four Members of Parliament, led by Tarlochan Singh, have refuted the Sports Ministry’s claim that the issue of restricting the tenures of office-bearers of the Indian Olympic Association and National Sports Federations had been discussed in the Rajya Sabha last month, saying, “This is completely wrong.”

india Updated: May 19, 2010 23:48 IST
HT Correspondent

Sports Minister, MS Gill, might not have had the backing of the Rajya Sabha when he issued guidelines limiting the tenure of top sports administrators in the country.

Four Members of Parliament, led by Tarlochan Singh, have refuted the Sports Ministry’s claim that the issue of restricting the tenures of office-bearers of the Indian Olympic Association and National Sports Federations (NSF) had been discussed in the Rajya Sabha last month, saying, “This is completely wrong.”

The Ministry, while justifying the guidelines for strictly implementing the tenures of IOA and NSF officials, had said, “(The issue) has also engaged the attention of Parliament. In a Rajya Sabha debate on 22.04.2010, MPs from all political parties urged the government to restore the tenure regulation of 1975.”

But in a letter written to the IOA secretary-general, Randhir Singh, on Tuesday, Tarlochan Singh, Bhubaneshwar Kalita, SS Dhindsa and Birender Prasad Baishya have said, “There was a discussion in the House on the budget demands of the Sports Ministry on April 22…there was no proposal or motion before the House nor was its approval sought to restrict either the age limit or tenure of office bearers of the IOA/NSFs. We can offer the full text of the proceedings.”

The letter further said, “As members of the Rajya Sabha, we are surprised that the Sports Ministry has wrongly informed the International Olympic Committee by stating that during the session, parliamentarians from all parties urged for some reasonable limit to the tenures of the office-bearers of IOA and NSF. Nothing can be further from the truth,” they said.

According to the guideline, NSF presidents cannot continue for more than 12 years, secretaries and treasurers can serve eight years at a stretch, while 70 is the retirement age for all executive committee members.

The government regulation, if it comes into effect, would mark the end of the reign of IOA president, Suresh Kalmadi, and NSF chiefs like VK Malhotra (archery), Jagdish Tytler (judo) and Dhindsa (cycling).