Controversy over HWC opening ceremony refuses to die down

Bhubaneswar: The controversy surrounding the inauguration ceremony of the men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar doesn’t seem to die down as BJP has raised questions on the source of funds used for the event.

As per reports, while Hockey India is yet to pay the match fee to the winners of Junior Hockey World Cup 2016, questions are being raised on how funds were arranged to pay Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and music maestro A R Rahman who were roped in for the opening ceremony.

“Hockey India should answer who are their sponsors, how much money they have? It should put out a list of who has paid how much. This is the same Hockey India which couldn’t even pay the match fees of players,” BJP general secretary, Lekhashree Samantsinghar said.

In a tweet, Samantsinghar had criticised Patnaik for payment of Rs 1.89 crore to actor Salman Khan who attended the second inaugural ceremony of the Hockey World Cup held at Barabati stadium in Cuttack on November 28.

Responding to BJP’s statement, BJD Spokesperson Sasmit Patra said “All the expenses have been borne by sponsors. When Hockey India itself has confirmed that, why BJP is asking the same question again and again?”

Commenting on the issue, senior journalist Rajaram Satpathy said, “It’s more like a political advertisement ahead of the 2019 general elections.”

Surprisingly, the State government had earlier claimed that it sponsored the entire event regarding which event organiser Nupur Mahajan was given the responsibility.

On the other hand, Hockey India is yet to comment on why former international players from Odisha were not called on the dais during the inauguration ceremony.

Meanwhile, Hockey India has responded on illegal sale of tickets near Kalinga Stadium. The matter had come to fore after a video showed some employees in charge of selling tickets at counter no 4, demanding up to Rs 4000 for inauguration ceremony and match tickets.

Hockey India today has clarified that the video has been submitted to police and only after an investigation, action will be taken against the offenders.