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Stinking drain, mosquitoes greet people at Olympian's locality

Ranchi, Nov 1, 2013 (PTI):
File photo of Deepika Kumari, walks back after scoring and retreiving arrows from the target during 2012 Summer Olympics. Courtesy: London Olympics

A stagnated drain and swarms of mosquitoes have become menacing for Olympian Deepika Kumari's family and its neighbours staying at Ratu Chatti on the outskirts of Ranchi.

Sports lovers not familiar to the surroundings would be surprised to believe that the area houses India's Olympic medal hope in archery until the neighbours guide them to her house saying, "Can you see the white Chevrolet Tavera parked there? That is Deepika's house."

"I have submitted an application four months back requesting for proper construction of the drainage, but there is no response so far," the world number two archer's mother Gita Devi complains, pointing at the drain.

"It worsens when it rains heavily," adds Devi, who works as auxiliary nurse midwife at the nearby Public Health Centre since early 1990s.

The previous Arjun Munda government had promised a plot to the former world number one archer after her exploits in the international competitions, but it has not been allotted as yet.

"We are unable to decide. The previous government promised Deepika a plot. But nothing materialised so far," the Arjuna Award winner's mother replied when asked whether the family has any plans for renovating their house themselves to create a hygienic environment.

For the parents of the Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Deepika, the auto-rickshaw is their prized possession dsepite owing a luxury car now.

"See there, our auto-rickshaw. Just two days ago we spent about Rs 4000 after it broke down. It is our second auto-rickshaw after the first one, bought when Deepika was around five years, completely broke down some time back. We named both the auto-rickshaws after Deepika," Devi adds.

Both Tavera and auto-rickshaw are parked in the same shed.

"I have engaged a driver for the auto, and I drive whenever he doesn't turn up. I purchased an auto-rickshaw for a living after winding up a small kirana shop," added Deepika's father Shiv Narayan Mahato.

"No, it's Deepika's personal car," he said when asked whether they have any plans to rent out Tavera as taxi.

The family, he adds, drives the car whenever Deepika comes to Ranchi, "mostly to Jamshedpur" where Deepika works as Manager (Sports) with the Tata Steel and sharpens her game.

The family is happy with the college management relaxing rules for Deepika, studying BA and currently competing in the Senior Asian Archery Championship at Chinese-Taipei.

"It's God's wish when we will be able to watch her competing in international competition. Passports have not yet been done.

"So far, we didn't want Deepika to feel the burden of parents watching her game in a competition. A private company had offered me to watch the London Olympics, but we decided that if we go, we would go together (with her husband)," says the ace archer's mother.

Deepika's younger sister, Vidya, who is in school, is also pursuing archery in Jamshedpur.


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