Earlier today, we carried a report ('Need Rs 1,000 loan to cook biryani for our hero son') on how the family of Mumbai's hockey champ Yuvraj Walmiki had no funds for water, electricity or even a 'welcome-back' meal for their son.
Following the publication of our report, the Maharashtra state government has decided to step in. Chief Minister Prithivraj Chavan announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh and a permanent job as Class I Officer to the 21-year-old hockey champion. Senior officials attached to the Chief Minister's office confirmed that this stand was taken by the Chief Minister during the regular cabinet briefing session on Wednesday.
Earlier, there were strong indications that the Chief Minister would also give Yuvraj a flat, but officials have clarified that a government resolution that was referred to while making that announcement does not have such a provision at present.
Yuvraj, who arrived at Mumbai airport from Delhi earlier today on an Air India flight, was given a warm welcome by his parents and former Indian hockey legend Dhanraj Pillai. They then drove to Matoshree, home of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, where Yuvraj met the Sena chief, his son Uddhav Thackeray and grandson Aditya.
When MiDDAY broke the news about the Chief Minister's decision to Yuvraj, the emotional sportsman said, "I am thankful to everybody who stood by me through my ups and downs. I would also like to thank the media for its support." Dhanraj Pillai added, "I am thankful to MiDDAY for its constant support. This gesture on the part of the state government is also appreciated.
Meanwhile, a large number of readers have contacted our offices to express their gratitude by making voluntary contributions to help the family of Walmiki.
Kanderp Khandwala, President, Rotary Club of Bombay Airport, sent us this message: 'Your article made for interesting reading. I am sure Yuvraj Walmiki has made all Mumbaikars very proud. We, at the Rotary Club, feel Walmiki is a worthy recipient of the Vocational Excellence Award, which we would like to confer upon him on October 10, 2011 at a ceremony in Juhu. At the same time, we can make an appeal to our members, who are leaders of various fraternities, to find appropriate help for the family.