The 5th Kabaddi World Cup (KWC), which will conclude on Saturday, has failed to keep up the spirit of the Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, as far as clean toilets for foreign women players are concerned.
Several foreign women players from the US, England, Denmark, Pakistan, New Zealand, Mexico and Azerbaijan are participating in the event, that officially has cost Rs 17 crore to the state. However, this amount was perhaps not enough to provide women players access to clean toilets.
Talking to HT, England team coach Ashok Dass said, "We often have to make several excuses and pass the buck on to the organisers to save the image of India in front of the foreign women players who often click the pictures of dirty and stinky toilets." There were no NRI women players in the England team and all players had their origin in England.
He said, "Toilets they come across make them think that it would be same all over India." "We often get clean toilets only in high class hotels. Earlier, some teams left the hotels, where they were made to stay, just because toilets in these hotels were too stinky. You can understand the problem," said Dass.
He said, "Toilets around the stadiums were also in a poor condition. I remember that at one stadium, girls had to pass through the urine flowing on the floor. There were some bricks to walk over it just like someone walking on a rope. Then, there are stalkers who make the things more difficult."
Most of the matches in this tournament were played either in villages or small towns, where most of the stadiums are constructed without the provision of toilets.
"Often, we have been travelling for four hours to go from one place to another. We find it very tough to find safe and clean toilets on the way. Even as being male, I find it difficult to find one for myself as well," said Dass.
"We are very proud of our native place and we want that girls should feel the same about our native place. But, stinky toilets often wash away all the work done," said Dass.
"I feel the Punjab government and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal are dedicated to make this world cup a success. However, there is lack of proper management. Organisers on the ground should be more vigilant about such things," said Karnail Singh Khera, manager of the England team, who has also played Asian Games for India.
Karnail said, "I feel there is lack of training to organise such international events. And, this mismanagement is reflected in every field whether toilets or something else. I want to tell you that there was great bias in the decision-making by referees on grounds while giving points to teams. They have their own rule book and never bother to tell the new rules to foreign teams they add to book every day. I have conveyed my feelings to Sukhbir Singh Badal to concentrate on organisers and make them responsible for everything."