IOA writes to PMO for helping sports quota soldiers

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Concerned at the plight of the families of those soldiers, who got their jobs through sports quota and are posted at Indo-Pak borders, affected by demonetisation, the Indian Olympic Association has written to the Prime Minister’s office to help them with some measures.

Indian Olympic Association has received several phone calls and messages from the soldiers, mostly having ranks of Havildar, Subedar and Lance Naik, and they have requested the IOA to make representations to the PMO.

Though the plight of these families cannot be said to be any different from other sections of the society, the IOA thought it fit to do something to help them.

IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta said he has written a letter to the PMO to see if there can be any scheme or measure to reduce the difficulties in getting cash for day-to-day running of their homes.

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Mehta said that the letter should not be construed as IOA’s opposition to demonetisation but it was just trying to help out the country’s former athletes and now soldiers.

“IOA, as a sports body, has nothing against demonetisation. It is a decision of the government of the day and we don’t say it is good or bad. But, several soldiers posted at Indo-Pak border whose families are at the interiors of the country had sent messages and phone calls to us that their wives and children have been suffering due to lack of cash,” Mehta told PTI.

“Many of them (wives of these soldiers) are illiterate or semi-literate and they cannot go to banks, which are sometimes located at far off places. They cannot stand at long queues because many of them have small children,” he said.

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Mehta said these soldiers belong to interior areas of Uttarakhand, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab and other states.

“It is difficult for these families to keep in contact with the soldiers posted at the borders through phones and they (soldiers) cannot come to their homes immediately to help their families as it’s difficult for them to get holidays at short notice,” said Mehta.

“So, I have written a letter to the PMO to see to this and if possible help out these families through some schemes or measures. After all they are also our former athletes and we have to help them just like we try to help out other current and former athletes,” he said.

“Many of them have served the country while playing at national and international events and now they are protecting the country at the borders. We thought their plight should be considered,” he added.

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Meanwhile, the IOA has called its Annual General Meeting in Chennai on December 27.

The Meeting will discuss about the status of the conduct of National Games allotted to Goa, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand and bids received from Meghalaya and Andhra Pradesh.

It will discuss about the hosting of the sixth Asian Beach Games in 2018, which has been allotted to India by Olympic Council of Asia, but yet to get sanction from the government.

The meeting will also take a call on the application of recognition by the newly-formed Boxing Federation of India while also taking up the issue of disputes in the National Sports Federations of Basketball and Gymnastics.

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