It was only last month that Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Water Sports Centre at Alappuzha in Kerala was in the spotlight — four teenaged girl trainees attempted suicide complaining of harassment and one of them died in hospital.
A month on, the centre has again caused anger among trainees and their families. This time it is over alleged mismanagement by officials in the ongoing kayaking and canoeing national camp for the under-18 and under-23 world championships.
Poor diet and accommodation are the prime problems. The national campers complain that officials are trying to cut corners and are pocketing money from the allowance provided by SAI.
The campers are entitled to a daily diet allowance of Rs 480 (for U-18 players) and Rs 650 (U-23). However, they are getting diet worth only Rs 175. SAI has also sanctioned Rs 120 to Rs 300 daily to each player for food supplements. That too has not been provided.
Be it the SAI Special Area Games (SAG) scheme trainees in Alappuzha or the national campers, both get diet worth only Rs 175. “We have raised the issue with local officials and have also apprised higher officials in Delhi,” a national camper told HT.
The national campers are also entitled to a daily lodging allowance of Rs 1000. Instead of arranging good lodgings, officials at the Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE), Thiruvananthapuram, under whose jurisdiction the centre comes, have got the local girl trainees to vacate their residential wing for the campers.
This has forced around 20 trainees to be bunched in a hall of the fitness centre.
The camp began on June 10. However, out of 28 trainees, only 19 (12 boys, 7 girls) have reported.
“All this has happened because of the casual approach of LNCPE officials. The SAI centre has limited space, but getting private accommodation in Alappuzha in the off-season is not a big deal,” said a Delhi-based SAI official.
“At some places, it’s routine practice to provide national campers with lesser facilities but claim the full sanctioned amount,” he alleged.
G Kishore, LNCPE principal and SAI in-charge of the Kerala region, said the issues were being sorted out.
“I’ve made assistant director Premjit Lal the nodal officer for the camp and sent him to Alappuzha today. All the issues have been sorted out. We’ve got a private resort near the SAI centre, and by tomorrow the campers will be shifted there,” he told HT.
Parents lodge protest
The parents of local SAI trainees are annoyed with the Sports Authority of India officials for shifting their daughters out of their residential wing to accommodate the national campers.
They had a meeting with the SAI officials at the centre on Sunday and many of the parents objected to shifting their daughters out of the usual place of stay.
“It is good that the national camp is taking place at the Alappuzha centre, but the officials should have arranged separate accommodation for the campers instead of shifting our girls to the first floor of the fitness centre.
Only last month, the suicide took place here. In spite of that, the officials don’t seem to be in a mood to make things better,” complained the parent of a trainee.