Shooters who have qualified for next month's World University Games in Kazan may have to foot the bill as the sports ministry has stopped its grant to the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) as it had not settled the accounts promptly.
The 10 selected shooters have been asked to give undertakings that if their universities do not bear the total cost of Rs 2.28 lakh each, the athletes will spend the amount from their pockets.
The costs include Rs 80,000 for pellets, which officials say is hugely inflated. The shooters qualified at the trials held at Guru Nanak Dev University on June 5.
"It really hurt me when shooters told me that they have to give an undertaking for bearing the expenditure for the trip," Amanendra Mann, associate professor at DAV College, Chandigarh, told HT.
"Moreover, for the two-week training camp and competition, a shooter doesn't require pellets for more than Rs 5,000. The AIU is asking for Rs 80,000. I don't know what the logic is."
The AIU is fielding teams in three disciplines -- shooting, swimming and athletics -- in the games to be held in the Russian city. The AIU have made it clear that as of now the ministry has not provided any grant and that the individual universities will have to pick up the tab.
Officials blame the AIU for the bungling. "Why should the players or university pay for the mistake of the AIU? It's only because of the casual approach of the officials dealing with AIU sports that the sports ministry has stopped the grant," said Gurmeet Singh, Director Sports, Panjab University (PU).
A shooter and swimmer have qualified from PU.
"We will try to do the maximum for the players, but I want to know what is the role and duties of AIU. We pay an annual fee of Rs 50,000 to AIU and there are hundreds of universities in the country. Anyway, if any AIU official accompanies the contingent, won't the AIU bear the cost?"
When asked about the undertaking sought from the participants and the complaint about the inflated cost of pellets, AIU secretary-general, DS Chauhan, said, "If players have any problem related to the overall cost of the trip, they can contact me directly and I will look into the matter. If required I will personally request their respective vice-chancellors to bear the expenses. We have given details of expenditure of the earlier grants to the ministry and even returned the unspent money. Hopefully, we will get the grant for the games. In that case, we will return the money to the universities."