Demanding regularisation of their jobs and wage parity by the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports (DYES), the Sports Authority of Karnataka (SAK) coaches began an indefinite hunger strike here on Friday.
Protesting at the Bannappa Park, CG Ramesh, one of the members of the SAK, said that this was not the first time they have raised these demand but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. “We had protested during the Dasara Games in Mysuru in 2008 and again gathered for a peaceful protest at the Freedom Park in 2011 regarding the unfair treatment of SAK coaches and staff members from the DYES,” said Ramesh, a cricket coach from Mysuru. The SAK consists of a total of 135 members, including 85 coaches.
The coaches, who are on contract basis at the moment, asked for their posts to be upgraded to Class 2-B Scale from the date of joining SAK besides paying the corresponding arrears.
“We don’t understand why the Karnataka government is not reacting to our requests. Since two decades, we have been successfully recognising various talents in different sports and we look forward to a positive response from the government,” said Venkatesh, another SAK coach.
The SAK coaches also demamned the formation of the separate sports technical department and not under DYES which was “incapable” of appreciating the coaches’ job which is highly technical.
Efforts are on
Meanwhile, HS Venkatesh, Director of DYES, said that the department had already had meetings with the government on more than three occasions and efforts were on to meet coaches’ demands.
“Regularisation of their jobs requires certain procedures. We have taken their requests seriously. Most of the coaches have crossed the age limit under which they can be regularised and we are identifying the right number of staff members from SAK who are eligible for it,” reasoned Venkatesh.