It's turned out to be quite an expensive proposition for the university shuttlers. The 10-member badminton team, which represented the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) at the World University Championship in the Chinese Taipei in September, is not just waiting to be reimbursed for its travel expenses but is also grappling with red tape.
What is intriguing is though the Sports Authority of India (SAI) had sanctioned Rs75,000 for the coaching camp in August, the AIU failed to get approval to cover the players' travel expenses.
Almost nine months have lapsed and the players are still running from pillar to post in their endeavour for what is rightfully theirs. To make matters worse, senior AIU officials have preferred to ignore their pleas.
“We had never anticipated such shoddy treatment,” said Oscar Bansal, referring to the AIU's promise (before the team left India) that travel allowances (Rs75,000 per player) would be reimbursed. Bansal, who hails from Chandigarh, had borrowed money from a relative for the event.
Among others hit hard by the AIU's callousness is Mumbai-based Parvesh Chedda, whose daughter, Kadambari, was part of the team.
“Had the AIU told us that the money would not be reimbursed, we would have thought twice before spending our resources,” Chedda told HT.
The entire episode has had an adverse effect on the young girl too. “It's better to pursue academics than carry on in sports,” she says. A former junior national No. 1 in doubles,
AIU secretary-general, Beena Shah, refused to comment on the issue.
“Talk to Gurdeep Singh (the sports cell in-charge), he would know better,” she said. Despite repeated attempts, Gurdeep could not be reached.
A sports ministry official, who deals with AIU, said, “I cannot say why the dues are pending, I'll need to check.”