Calcutta, Sept. 26: Six members of a panel formed to select sportspersons for government awards have themselves been nominated for prizes.
Two of the six — former footballers Prasun Banerjee, Gautam Sarkar and Bidesh Bose, chess grandmaster Dibyendu Barua, athlete Soma Biswas and former tennis player Akhtar Ali — said they had not nominated sportspersons in the awards categories for which they were chosen.
They said the government had selected them for the awards.
Sports minister Madan Mitra announced the names for four awards — lifetime achievement, Khel Samman, Krira Guru and Banglar Gaurab — at Writers’ today.
Trinamul MP Prasun Banerjee said: “I didn’t select anybody for the category I am being awarded for. I didn’t ask the government to give me an award. The chief minister selected us (the six sportspersons). I represented the country in international events but no government ever honoured me. This government is doing so.”
Barua said he had recommended names for only the Khel Samman category. “The government has chosen us,” the grandmaster, who has been chosen for the Banglar Gaurab award, said.
While Howrah MP Prasun Banerjee and Ali will receive the Krira Guru award, Sarkar, Bose, Barua and Biswas will get the Banglar Gaurab award.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will give the awards on Saturday.
While the lifetime achievement award carries a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, the Krira Guru and Banglar Gaurab recipients will get Rs 1 lakh each. The cash prize for Khel Samman is Rs 50,000. Sixty sportspersons will get the awards.
Sourav Ganguly and Leander Paes will receive the lifetime achievement awards.