In a country where sports is rarely seen as a viable career choice, government red tape seems to be making the situation worse.
Despite winning medals and making the state proud, sportspersons are losing out on potential earnings due to the delay in getting their documents verified by the sports directorate. File pic for representation
Hundreds of sportsmen selected for state government jobs through the 5% sports quota are being deprived of the opportunity to join their offices and earn salaries due to the alleged lackadaisical approach exhibited by officials at the sports directorate in verifying their certificates and documents.
Sujay Bhonsale (name changed) is one of several such sportspersons. Despite being selected for the post of a constable by the Nashik police department, Bhonsale is awaiting a green signal from the sports directorate.
A state-level football player during his college days, Bhonsale had forwarded his certificates to the directorate for verification almost three months ago.
“My file has been gathering dust at the Pune headquarters, while some of my other batchmates’ verification has been done. This got me worried and I came all the way from Jalgaon to Pune just to request the officials to expedite the verification process. Last week, they told me that my file would be cleared within seven days, but I haven’t received any update till date. I am planning to visit the office again on Monday,” Bhonsale said.
He added that if his file did not reach the Nashik police department by the end of this month, he would have to wait for another year because the training for the current batch of new recruits would have been finished and he would be forced to join the next batch.
“The delay has already cost me three months’ salary. If the verification isn’t done soon, I could end up losing a year’s pay,” Bhonsale lamented.
Latendra Bhingare, president of the New Boundless Sports Association, an NGO working for the welfare of sportspersons, claimed to have witnessed the bureaucratic apathy towards sportspersons first hand.
He said he had written to the sports minister and the chief minister, requesting them to direct the sports department to speed up the verification process.
“I was at the sports directorate office for some official work and observed that at least 20 youngsters had come from various parts of state just to request the officials to expedite the verification process so that they could take up government jobs for which they had already been selected. If the situation remain unchanged, I am going to protest and take up the issue with sports minister Vinod Tawde,” Bhingare said.
As per government rules, a sportsman who has participated in a state or a national-level competition during his school or college days and has won medals, can apply for government job under the 5% sports quota
The other side
N B Mote, state deputy director for sports, said, “Be it the Maharashtra Public Service Commission or any other government department, officials send us just the name of the candidates selected from the sports quota. It is we who ask candidates to submit their certificates. Upon receiving their documents, we crosscheck them with our records. All this takes time. Also, we have taken the verification process online so that candidates can check the status as per their convenience.”
Rubbishing Mote’s claim that taking the process online was beneficial for the shortlisted candidates, Bhingare said, “Even on the website, there are names of hundreds of sportspersons who have been waiting for months to get their documents verified. The sports department seem to be least bothered about the future of these youngsters, who have worked hard to win medals.”