Women athletes of Odisha allege govt apathy

Bhubaneswar: Two international-level women athletes from Odisha have alleged that they are being neglected by the Odisha government. While Odia weightlifter K Ravi Kumar was given a job of DSP rank after he won gold in the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, woman sprinter Jauna Murmu who had also won gold in the same event reportedly failed to get any such assistance.

Similarly, Odia athlete Purnima Hembram has brought several laurels for the State and is currently getting only Rs 20,000 from a contractual job in the Indian Railways. Citing that it’s not sufficient to support her sports career, Hembram has raised the issue and urged the government for help.

Both Murmu and Hembram have reportedly met the Sports department secretary and also the Sports minister and requested for jobs. They have also demanded benefits like other athletes and sportspersons are getting in the State. “I am not comparing myself with anyone. I have also played well like others, but I don’t know why there is such differentiation,” said Hembram.

She further said: “We (Hembram and Murmu) have given our bio-data several times for consideration, but have not yet received any reply. Even I recently met the Sports minister. He assured to do something by Wednesday (today).”

Besides, Hembram raised the issue on social media by drawing the attention of the sports minister following which, the minister said that the government provides jobs to jobless sportspersons, but she (Hembram) is already having a job.

Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera said, “Hembram personally met me. She is already working in the Railways, but, we will look into the matter.”

Though Odisha government had earlier invited several athletes and provided jobs in PSUs, the alleged apathy towards Hembram and Murmu has raised several eyebrows.