Known for his emotional outbursts against 'insensitive' sports bodies, ace shooter Jaspal Rana has now caused embarrassment to the new BC Khanduri government in Uttarakhand by refusing to accept an award amount announced by the state to honour the eminent 'son of the soil'.
A BJP member who hails from Tehri, Jaspal has turned down the 'measly' sum of Rs 25 lakhs, which the state government had recently announced to acknowledge his triple-gold medal winning effort at the Doha Asian Games.
"Although I have not been intimated by the state government about any such award, I have read media reports on the issue. If they can't accord proper respect to my sporting achievements, they have no right to humiliate me by announcing such a small amount as the cash prize," he said while speaking to HT.
Jaspal cited the example of fellow shooter Samaresh Jung, who had won a gold and one silver at Doha and was awarded a total sum of Rs 35 lakhs by the Himachal Pradesh government for his efforts.
Going by that yardstick, he reasons that the Uttarakhand government should at least have adopted similar standards and announced a sum, which befits his sterling accomplishment that boosted India's medal tally significantly.
"I understand that Uttarakhand is a new state and there several problems that's affecting it, but there should be some criteria of judging performances by players at international meets. Who's the one taking such decisions in the state?" he questioned.
Jaspal, however, was quick to add that it is not just the question of money that irking him, but the attitude of the Uttarakhand government towards sports. He blamed both the previous Congress government and the ruling BJP government for failing to address problems faced by sportspersons.
"In my case, the ND Tiwari government didn't even acknowledge by efforts at Doha. The present BJP government too has done nothing but issuing statements through the media about the cash award," said Jaspal.
Despite repeated attempts newly appointed Sports Minister Rajendra Singh Bhandari could not be reached to get the state government's views on the award and reaction to Jaspal's remarks.
It is worth mentioning that the state government had recently decided to honour nearly 1000 medal winners from the state in various national and international sports meets including Olympics and Asian Games by giving them a sum ranging from Rs 7,000 to Rs 3,000 per month.