Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has put on hold until further orders the notification to the state's sportspersons to pay one-third of their earnings to the government.
"I have asked for the relevant file of Sports Dept to be shown to me & the notification to be put on hold till further orders. We are proud of immense contribution by our sports persons & I assure them of a just consideration of all issues," Khattar was quoted as saying according to ANI.
The Sports and Youth Affairs Department of the state government had earlier signed a notification asking for the state's athletes to pay one-third of their earnings, both from their participation in professional sports as well as from endorsements, to the Haryana State Sports council.
"One-third of the income earned by the sportsperson from professional sports or commercial endorsements will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council. The money shall be used for the development of sports in the State," it stated.
The move was met with widespread criticism from some of the most well-known sporting names from the state, with celebrated wrestler Geeta Phogat saying that "one-third share is way too much."
"If the athletes give one-third to the government of whatever they earn then what will remain with the athletes in that case? One-third share is way too much."
The athletes employed with the state government include star boxers Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar, both of whom are DSPs in state police, hockey captain Sardar Singh and wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat. Sardar, Geeta and Babita are also employed with the Haryana Police.
Of them, Babita, who won a silver at the Gold Coast CWG, called the move disheartening.
"This notification will hamper an athletes preparation. How can the government give such an order? We pay taxes over whatever we earn and now this notification to pay one-third," Phogat told PTI.
However, state sports minister Anil Vij had come to the defence of the government notification, saying that it was not something new, but an 'old government rule', one that would eventually be used for the welfare of the state's athletes.
"There is nothing new in this decision. It is an old government rule. Under Rule 56, if a government employee earns professional or commercial income, he has to deposit one third of the earning with the state government," said Vij.
Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar said the move will demoralise the players,
Congress' Rohtak MP Deepinder Singh Hooda said the present government has made a mockery of the state's athlete-friendly policy.
Haryana has a long history of producing a large number of successful athletes, with sports such as wrestling, boxing as well as several track and field events being some of the key areas where the state has contributed with medal-winning athletes. In the recently-concluded Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, as many as 22 of the 66 medals that were collected by the Indian contingent came from Haryanvi athletes.
The Haryana government had also courted controversy when it had decided to reduce the prize money for those Commonwealth Games medal winners from the state who were employed with other departments or states.
The felicitation function planned for the prize money distribution on 26 April had to be eventually cancelled indefinitely when the athletes threatened to boycott it.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jun 08, 2018 18:18:35 IST