Former Asian Games cyclist Swaran Singh working as security guard to make ends meet
Former India cyclist Swaran Singh is battling poverty, working night shifts as a security guard in order to make ends meet. Singh, who represented India at the 1970 Asian Games, took up a job with the Tata Steel Welfare department where he worked as a Sports Assistant till 1994 before taking voluntary retirement. He started his transport business which operated well but went downhill after 2005.
“There is no one to alleviate my condition. It’s a troubled life, and I am somehow trying to stay afloat,” Swaran told The Telegraph. “I live alone as my wife is with my elder daughter who is suffering from bone TB. I opted for the night shift as I have to cook food and wash clothes in the morning.”
Currently residing in a dingy rented room at a slum in Baridih, Jamshedpur, Singh, 70, earns approximately Rs 10000 – of which Rs 2500 is paid as rent – which at times, falls short. Swaran has reached out to the Cycling Federation of India seeking help, but his request seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
“I somehow manage things, including medicines, with the rest of the money. Neither the government, nor the Cycle Federation of India have paid any attention to my plight. I represented my country with pride and won medals for my employers (Tata Steel) and Bihar. But those don’t mean a thing. I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Life has been very cruel to me,” he said.
Thankfully for Singh, President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Narinder Batra has received an appeal from an anonymous sender stating the hardships endured by the 70-year-old. Hopefully, something good will come of it.
“I write this with deep anguish as I came to know the pathetic condition of International Cyclist and National Champion Swaran Singh of Tata Steel, Jamshedpur who is living in utter penury and forced to work as Security Guard at an Apartment Block in Baridih, Jamshedpur,” said the appeal.
“He is unable to look after his daughter suffering from bone TB. His wife is taking care of his suffering daughter and Swaran Singh is living alone in a rented room, cooking his food himself for which he opted for night shift. I contacted the officials in the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, New Delhi who were prompt to assure financial help to Swaran Singh. Since he had not won any international medal, he is not eligible for the pension.”
As per the appeal, the IOA and the Cycling Federation of India have been urged to look after the well-being of Singh and also write to the Tata Steel, Jamshedpur to help his son seek employment.
“The officials of Tata Steel, Jamshedpur were also prompt to assure to look into his case as Swaran Singh served Tata Steel Sports Dept for 24 years and took voluntary retirement in 1994. His son’s name is registered for employment in Tata Steel. Officials of Tata Steel have been requested to provide employment to Swaran Singh’s son who is working as driver in New Delhi,” it further stated.
“I appeal to IOA and Cycling Federation of India to provide financial help to Swaran Singh so that he can re-join his family and to write to Tata Steel, Jamshedpur to provide employment to his son and allot him Company’s quarter on compassionate ground so that Swaran Singh lives peacefully with his family.”