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Aid for ex-cricketers

- ACA pays ex gratia to players who did not get BCCI grant

Guwahati, June 13: The Assam Cricket Association (ACA) has started payment of the one-time ex gratia to former first class cricketers who did not fulfil the criteria of the BCCI grants paid last year by handing over cheques to six veteran players based here yesterday.

A team of ACA office-bearers yesterday visited six senior former players at their residences to hand them over the cheques, said ACA treasurer Ghanashyam Baruah, who was also part of the delegation.

“We have handed over the cheques to these six players because they are too old to come to the ACA office to collect the cheques. We have invited the others who are physically fit to come and collect their respective cheques in the evenings on weekdays,” Baruah said.

Taking a cue from the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA), the ACA had announced the grants in August last year but had to delay the payment because of various constraints — like preparing a database of eligible beneficiaries and unavailability of chief minister Tarun Gogoi and ACA president Gautam Roy — to hand over the cheques ceremonially.

“Since it was getting too late looking for dates with our president and the chief minister, we decided to abort the ceremonial presentation. As most of the former players are based in Guwahati, the ACA will hand over their grants itself while those based in other districts will be able to collect their cheques from their respective district sports associations. We have already dispatched the cheques of players based in Jorhat and Dibrugarh to the DSAs who have proposed to present the cheques to beneficiaries ceremonially,” ACA joint secretary Sanatan Das said.

The ACA had earlier proposed to hand over the grants, holding a ceremony at the ITA cultural complex here in the presence of Gogoi and legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar.

Sources said the ceremony was aborted not only because of the official reasons cited but also because of the alleged doctored photograph publication controversy surrounding its secretary Bikash Baruah.

The beneficiaries include players who have played till the 2003-04 season.

They are eligible for the entitlements only against the number of matches in which they figured in the playing XI.

Those who are drawing BCCI pension are, however, not eligible for the same.

There are nearly 20 players in the state who are BCCI pensioners.

“Cricketers who have played one to five matches are entitled to Rs 25,000, while those who have played six to 10 matches will draw Rs 50,000. Cricketers who have played 11 to 15 matches will get Rs 75,000 and those above 16 matches will take home Rs 1 lakh per head. We are forking out over Rs 37 lakh to about 140 beneficiaries,” the ACA treasurer said.

The idea of the grant is to give some solace to the players who had rendered service but did not fulfil the criteria of having played at least 25 matches for the BCCI grants.

Secretary Baruah had proposed the incentives immediately after the BCCI had introduced such a scheme earlier last year and not a single player from Assam qualified for any of the grant.

The ACA governing body gave its nod in the Golaghat meeting on August 6 last year.

This is the first time the ACA has initiated steps towards honouring former players with cash incentives, apart from extending financial help to players in distress from time to time.


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