Sporting icons sans jobs in J&K

Rajesh Dhar
JAMMU, Sept 5: Notwithstanding the tall claims made by the previous State Governments that the services of outstanding sportspersons have been utilized properly in the State, non-implementation of SRO-349 for the last almost 5 years and non-induction of the excellent sportspersons in State and Central Government Departments has left the exceptional sportspersons in the lurch as most of them are jobless in Jammu and Kashmir, the State which under Governor’s Administration is striving hard to carve a space on India’s sports map.
It is learnt that most of the outstanding sportspersons in the State are without Government jobs and the doors for their appointments under SRO-349 have almost been closed from 2014 onwards.
There was a custom, a system, a practice or you may call it precedence that the State Government was providing jobs to outstanding players under SRO-349 since 1992 against the direct recruitment quota.
Moreover, the trend of Central Government Departments/ Organisations like Defence Accounts Department and AG’s Department, of employing outstanding sportspersons is almost absent from last five years.
By outstanding sportsperson, the State Government meant the player representing the country at the International scene or a player earning a medal at senior national level championships.
Sources reveal that none of the sportspersons had been appointed under SRO-349 since 2014 over a dispute between the Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council and the players on the issue of awarding points to the outstanding players.
On the condition of anonymity a deserving candidate for appointment under SRO-349 said that Sports Council after appointing 25 outstanding players under this SRO in 2013, did not bother to issue an advertisement regarding the appointment of players in 2014 and 2015, adding that the Council invited the applications from the players of all these years through an advertisement in 2016 before the controversial points system adopted by the Sports Council in 2017 served as a stumbling block for further appointments.
Sources said that the controversial points system introduced by the Council forced some outstanding players to go to the Court for justice, adding that the cases now pending in the Court are serving as a death-knell for these outstanding sportspersons as far as their future is concerned.
Secretary J&K State Sports Council, Naseem Javaid Choudhary as per the reports had already admitted that there have not been any appointments from the year 2014 because of the cases pending in the Court.
He said the Sports Policy draft had been submitted with the Government and everybody is waiting in the wings for the implementation of this policy in letter and spirit in the State.
It may be recalled that the draft of the Sports Policy has been framed by the Sports Council way back in 2015, but unfortunately the Policy is yet to be implemented in the State for some unknown reasons.
According to the reliable sources, there are around 150 outstanding players in the State including some iconic sportspersons like Surya Bhanu Partap Singh, Rajinder Singh (Wushu); Shewata Thakur, Danish (Judo); Palak Kour, Raviya (Gymnastics); Vilayat Hussian, Muneer, Asifa, (Kayaking & Canoeing) and some fencers like Shreya Gupta and Javed, who despite having extraordinary record at the National and International scene are yet to be appointed under SRO-349 and are jobless. A good number of cricketers, who have performed exceptionally well even at the Ranji Trophy level are jobless in J&K. Speedster Rohit Sharma is one such example.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Jammu and Kashmir Bank employs footballers to make a bank team. However, it would have been better if this premier Bank appoints State cricketers to make Bank Cricket Team and serve the cause of these unemployed cricketers. From last few years, the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department is also not showing interest in building its Cricket team, despite the fact that State Forest Department used to run both football and cricket teams.
“What shell-shocks one is the fact that the non implementation of Sports Policy and jaundiced system prevailing in the State, has forced many outstanding players to migrate from the State and either play for other States or train the players of other States. The migration of International stuff from the State is affecting and will badly affect the standard of sports in Jammu and Kashmir,” said coach of one of the leading medal winning sports disciplines in the State.
He said that the non implementation of Sports Policy is not only hampering the standard of sports in the State, but also making the outstanding players/ coaches disinteresting in taking their assignments.
“There is not much provision of presenting cash prizes to outstanding sportspersons In Jammu and Kashmir. The State like Haryana and likes give 50 lakh cash prize to medal winners at the International level and J&K 50,000 to the same. So, expecting miracles from the State athletes is to flog a dead horse. In such circumstances, Government jobs were the only hope for these sporting icons to run their families and the non implementation of SRO-349 from many years now has left them in the lurch,” said Sports Authority of India (SAI) Coach on the condition of anonymity.
He said that Surya Bhanu Partap Singh Chib after winning bronze at Asian Games earlier was assured to be appointed as DySP, however, the assurance by the State Administration is yet to be given a practical shape.
Presently, the doors are almost shut for the outstanding sportspersons in Central and State Departments.
Appointing outstanding sportspersons in Forest, Police, Sports and other allied Departments/ Organisations is the need of the hour.