One of India’s top athletes, Khushbir Kaur, is putting in long hours in Portugal to fulfil her dream of bringing home a medal from the Rio Olympic Games next year. But her heart cries for the well being of her family in village Rasulpur Kalan near Amritsar.
“My people are suffering. Every day is a torture for them,” she cries inconsolably.
According to Khushbir, silver medallist at the 2014 Asian Games 20km race walk event, her troubles started immediately after her Incheon achievement in September last when Amritsar’s Khalsa College for Women promised to give her Rs 5 lakh to renovate her house.
In anticipation, the family demolished the three-room house, hoping construction would begin soon.
Unfortunately, it never happened. It has been over six months and Khushbir alleges the college principal, Sukhbir Kaur Mahal, is holding back the funds resulting in untold misery to her family.
Soon after the structure was razed, the family had no option but to take shelter in the cowshed within the premises. A wet spell earlier this week left Khushbir’s mother, elder sister and brother spending sleepless nights in the makeshift shelter.
“All our household stuff got drenched,” said Khushbir’s sister, Harpreet Kaur.
The principal, however, rubbished the allegation, saying she has been cooperating all through. “We want to help them. We’ve sent a contractor several times but the family did not co-ordinate and work couldn’t progress,” she said.
The family suggested they be given the money, but the principal said, “We will not give cash... we will get the work done through a contractor.”
Khushbir, who lost her father when she was six, said it was a false promise. “Had the principal been keen on helping us it should have happened by now. The principal should have visited my village and seen how my family is living.”
Mahal said she was not responsible for the mess, and would still like to coordinate with Khushbir and not her family members.
“The delay is not on our part,” said the principal and claimed she had sent a copy of the construction plan to Khushbir for approval. “Once she gives the green signal we will go ahead,” she said.
If Khushbir is to be believed, she has not received any post from the principal. Speaking to HT from her training base in Portugal, the athlete said, “I am yet to hear from the principal.”