The Commonwealth Games medal winners from Punjab for whom the state government had announced financial incentives have not received any prize money so far, courtesy the financial crunch the government is facing.
Even as these medallists were given a rising welcome on their arrival besides being honoured at various public and private functions, the token of appreciation has largely remained to flower bouquets only.
The Haryana government had recently announced to increase cash incentive for its medal winners in the Commonwealth Games and also the winners in the upcoming Asian Games, but the situation in Punjab is opposite.
The Badal government announced cash prizes of Rs 16 lakh, Rs 11 lakh and Rs 6 lakh for gold, silver and bronze medallists respectively but they have not received any invitation to collect the same.
Rajwinder Kaur, who bagged bronze medal in 78 kg plus category in the Commonwealth Games, said, “I have not received any call from the authorities regarding the prize money that we were promised by the government.”
“The neighbouring states are doing a lot to encourage its players. A state like Uttar Pradesh has also increased the prize money but nothing of that sort happened here,” she further said.
Navjot Singh Chana, who bagged a silver medal in judo in the games, said, “I have received a letter from the secretary sports and youth welfare Punjab that I will soon be felicitated with prize money for my performance in the Glasgow games.”
Moreover, the state government has also done away with its day scholar diet programme under which it was providing Rs 100 to sportspersons.
It has been learnt that the players did not get the diet money last year.
Officials in the sports department have cited financial crunch the state government is facing as the reason behind the move.
Sohan Lal Lotey, joint director of sports department, said, “We have not stopped the day scholar’s diet progamme. It is still there all over the state.”
Rakesh Kaushik, district sports officer (DSO), Jalandhar, said,“We have stopped the day scholars’ diet programme from this year. But we are holding discussions to review the policy.”
Surprisingly, national games winners in Punjab are waiting for their prize money for the past 13 years.
The Haryana government had announced Rs 1 crore, Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh for gold, silver and bronze medal winners respectively at the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow.