Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Odisha government is boasting of spending crores of rupees for the improvement of sports infrastructure and organising mega international tournaments in the State. Moreover, it is putting a lot of emphasis on the development of hockey in the State. However, an international hockey player from the State is languishing in abject poverty.

Take the case of Indian men’s hockey team’s star defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess from Odisha. He is part of the Men in Blue unit along with another star Amit Rohidas from the State for the forthcoming FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup to be played in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 till 29.

India is aiming to break the jinx of their medal drought in the marquee event and Nilam, who hails from Kadobahal village under Kuarmunda Block in Sundargarh district, is also part of the dream. However, the star defender is caught in the vicious cycle of poverty.

Nilam has been living with his family in a kutcha house comprising two rooms. Nilam’s father Bipin Xess had built the house by borrowing money 40 years ago. The house has no water connection. The family has still no gas connection. Though Bipin’s son has come a long way to represent the country in the World Cup, his family’s condition has not improved yet.

“We have not got any help from the government yet. We have no option but to live in the thatched house,” said Nilam’s father Bipin Xess.

“When our son comes home during breaks, he also stays in this kutcha house. We will be grateful if the government provides us a pucca house under any scheme,” said Nilam’s mother Jeera Xess.

Even the family doesn’t have proper place to keep Nilam’s medals, trophies and certificates. All of those have been piled on a table. All of Nilam’s certificates are also lying scattered on the floor. The family has only 45 decimal land. The family members earn their living by cultivating vegetable and working as day labourers.

Nilam Sanjeep XessNilam Sanjeep Xess

The family is still deprived from the government facilities. They have only received a ration card, but yet to get a house under Awas Yojana.

Meanwhile, Kuarmunda BDO Trupti Barei assured all kind of help to the family after a proper inquiry.

“We will send an inquiry team following which the higher authorities will be apprised about the reality. Subsequently, all possible government help will be extended to the family,” said Barei.

Nilam has already led the Indian U-18 team in Asia Cup in 2016. Later he made his debut for the senior Indian team in the South Asian Games. He also represented the Men in Blue in Asia Cup in 2020 and Asian Champions Trophy in 2021. Now he is going to represent the country in the forthcoming Hockey World Cup. But the living condition of the international hockey player from the State has put a question mark over the true intention of the government.