Money flows for cash-strapped hockey players

Last Updated 22 January 2010, 14:31 IST

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan and his Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda pledged Rs 1 crore each while Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi agreed to donate Rs 50 lakh.

Earlier today, ASSOCHAM Commonwealth Games chairman Vinay Rai had announced Rs 10 lakh for the women players who are protesting in Bhopal against non-payment of their dues.

"Sports Minister MS Gill spoke to the state governments of Haryana, Assam and Rajasthan this evening and requested them to contribute for the welfare of hockey, both men and women," a Sports Ministry official said.

"On his request, Haryana Chief Minister agreed to give Rs 1 crore, while the Assam Chief Minister said he will give Rs 50 lakh.

"Gill also spoke to Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and is waiting for his response," he said.
Indian hockey plunged into a crisis when the men's team boycotted the pre-World Cup camp in Pune, demanding their incentives for last year's podium finishes.

Even though Hockey India managed to bring the situation under control by distributing the RS one crore they got from Sahara, another revolt started brewing with the women players, camping in Bhopal, rejecting the Rs 50,000 immediate payment offered to them.
The women team demanded the same treatment that had been meted out to the male counterparts and wore black armband in protest.

Their protest, however, did not go in vain and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan was the first to react as he pledged Rs 1 crore for them.

Gill told reporters at his residence that he met Chauhan today when both discussed about the women hockey players.

"I asked Mr Chouhan to help the girls and he said he would do whatever he could. I asked for Rs one crore and he readily agreed.

"I have also been in touch with one of the players, Deepika Murthy, in Bhopal and have asked her to prepare a list how many girls have how much due," the Minister said.
Incidentally, Chouhan had yesterday announced that his government was ready to bear all expenses of the women's hockey team.

Gill said he would ask Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, also Hockey Punjab chief, to chip in with help."Badal had also promised help in the past and I would request him to help the girls," Gill said.

(Published 22 January 2010, 12:52 IST)

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