Hockey hero Yuvraj Walmiki still waiting for keys to the promised house

After being forgotten by the Chavan administration, Yuvraj Walmiki hopes his successor would honour the pledge he was made of a new abode and an officer-grade job

With a new government in place, Yuvraj Walmiki should be feeling equal parts disappointed and hopeful. Disappointed because the star hockey player was guaranteed a house and a job by the previous dispensation, which left Mantralaya without dispensing what it promised; and hopeful that the new regime would honour the word its predecessor failed to keep.

This is when the BMC decided to supply electricity to their tiny shelter in 2011
This is when the BMC decided to supply electricity to their tiny shelter in 2011

After Walmiki’s winning goal against Pakistan during the Asian Championship in 2011, then chief minister, Congressman Prithviraj Chavan, promised him a home and a grade II government job. But more than three years down the line, Walmiki has to unhinge his hopes and re-peg them on the BJP government. Incidentally, he had been invited to and attended Friday’s ceremony where Devendra Fadnavis was inducted as chief minister.

Walmiki being felicitated by former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. File pics
Walmiki being felicitated by former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. File pics

Walmiki said he had met Chavan at least on three occasions, but the politician’s officers told him the process was under way and would take a while. A senior officer in MHADA claimed that they would need time to search the files from 2011 and that they’d be able to inform us on the progress of Walmiki’s file by weekend.

“I had been to the ex-CM’s office after he assured me a home, but I am yet to receive the keys of the new house. I was invited for the swearing-in ceremony of the new CM and I am hopeful that when I meet him I will surely be heard and a home will be allotted to me as promised. I will also discuss with the CM the grade II officer job I was assured. I am sure my queries will be answered,” said Walmiki.

mid-day’s report on September 14, 2011 detailing how Walmiki has led a life of crushing poverty, living out of a tiny garage-house without electricity or water supply
mid-day’s report on September 14, 2011 detailing how Walmiki has led a life of crushing poverty, living out of a tiny garage-house without electricity or water supply

A grade II officer’s post implies the rank of deputy superintendent or undersecretary, or in other words, a gazetted officer. The player’s family has been residing in cramped quarters in the Neelkanth Niranjan Cooperative Housing Society compound in Marine Lines for four decades now.

Their home, barely 100 square foot and inside a garage, is too small for the entire family: his elder brother who recently got married, he and his younger brother, and their mother and father. Walmiki has participated in nearly 60 international hockey tournaments, and of the 2011 team he was the only boy from Mumbai. Now his brother has joined the same team.

He claims he wouldn’t mind a home in the suburbs up till Bandra or Sion, as the ground where he practices is in South Mumbai, and it would be convenient for him to commute. There were rumours that Walmiki was offered a home in Mira Road, but he refused it. But the player rubbished them.

“I never got a house in Mira Road,” said the player who is a ticket collector with the railways. When we tried to contact Prithviraj Chavan, he didn’t answer the phone. Our efforts to get in touch with the recently appointed sports minister Vinod Tawde only got us as far as his assistant, who told us Tawde would revert, but didn’t.

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