It has been over three months, since the prestigious bodybuilding competition Mahapaur Shree 2012 concluded. But even today, the 42 prizewinners, including title winner Mahindra Chavan, are yet to receive the prize money. Cash prizes amounting to a total of Rs 1.72 lakh are yet to be handed over by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
“I have not yet received my prize money of Rs 31,000. None of my other winning colleagues had been given their dues. I am still positive that the money will be given to us soon.” Chavan said. Other winners, including Rohit Bhuttapelli, Rohit Muttapelli, Tariq Khan, Vilas Dhavare and Yogesh Jadhav, seconded Chavan’s opinion.
“The prize serves as encouragement for our efforts. Sadly, even after three months, we are yet to receive the money,” Dhavare said. Mahapaur Shree, which is considered to be a coveted title among bodybuilders, was started in the early 50s of the last century. The idea behind starting the competition was to inculcate and promote bodybuilding among the city youth, informed Dhananjay Lohokare, PA to Mayor Vaishali Bankar. “This is one of the oldest and the prestigious trophies. It is handed over by the mayor every year,” Lohokare said. “Mahapaur Shree 2012 was held at Bantar School in Gadital.” Mahindra Chavan said that some of the winners, including him, met Bankar last week and requested her to give them the prize money in cash. “She has promised us that the amounts will be cleared soon.”
It was PMC’s Sports Committee president, Avinash Bagwe, who raised the issue of non-payment of prize money at the General Body meeting held on Monday. “Mahendra Chavan, Rohit Bhuttapelli, Tariq Khan, Vilas Dhavare and Yogesh Jadhav had approached me last week and narrated the entire episode. All the participants of the bodybuilding competition felt cheated by the PMC. This has dented the Mahapaur Shree image. It is a prestige issue, as the trophy is sponsored by the mayor,” Bagwe said. “Instead of giving cash prizes to the winners, organisers gave them post-dated cheques.”
Bagwe also said there was no need to conduct the competition this year if there was paucity of funds. Dhavare said the entire episode was absurd and the winners of the competition did not like the way they had been treated by the organiser. “I don’t know from which bank the organisers had issued us cheques. We had refused to accept them. The prize money was supposed to be given in cash and not by cheque. Even the cheques were post-dated which meant we could encash only a month after the competition,” Dhavare said.
Rs 1 crore grant
Following the hue and cry over the non-payment of prize money to the winners of Mahapaur Shree 2012 at the General Body meeting on Monday, the PMC immediately approved Rs 1 crore for the Mayor’s Trophy sports fund, from which the prize money for the competition comes.
The other side
Mayor Vaishali Bankar confirmed that there had been a delay on the PMC’s part in handing over the prize money. “The delay was due to the tender system for organising the body building competition Mahapaur Shree 2012. These contractors messed up in submitting bills. The amount was finally approved in the PMC’s Standing Committee meeting last week. We expect that the amount shall be distributed by cheques to each winner soon.”