World Summer Games medallists Gangai Bai, Nandita and Suman Kumari
Special players from Jharkhand can look forward to equal rights for their inspiring victories at national and international competitions.
If officials in the state sports department are to be believed, a policy that was mooted in 2012 to honour differently abled medal winners at prestigious contests will be finally implemented by the first fortnight of June. The move will go a long way in bringing recognition for special athletes, both past and present, who have won laurels for Jharkhand.
“The policy for the disabled achievers will be clubbed with the general sports policy. We are already working on it. It will be implemented in the first fortnight of June,” sports director Dadan Choubey said.
“The policy will ensure full participation, equal opportunity and protection of rights for persons with disabilities. This means they have to be treated on a par with other sports achievers,” former disability commissioner Satish Chandra, who was in office when the proposal was mooted, said over phone from Ranchi.
He added that besides sports, the policy would also guarantee them health, education and employment benefits besides social security.
“The social welfare department is the nodal agency of implementing the policy while the disability commissioner is the monitoring head,” Chandra added.
According to him, the state cabinet approved the policy in 2012 after the department for law and finance gave its nod.
“However, the policy remained pending with the sports department. Sheer lethargy on the part of officials held it up. If they had taken up the matter on priority basis, the special achievers would have been benefited by now,” Chandra said.
However, Choubey declined to divulge the amount that would be handed over to winners of gold, silver and bronze medals at national and international events. “I cannot comment on the amount now,” he said.
Among those set to be benefited are Jamshedpur athletes Nandita, Ganga Bai and Suman Kumari, who won eight medals in the Special Olympics World Summer Games held at Athens in Greece from June 24 to July 4, 2011. Jharkhand boys also recently clinched a gold medal at the Special Olympics National Basketball Championship held in Gujarat from May 21 to 25.
Jharkhand Special Olympics assistant area director Satbir Singh Sahota said special athletes from the state had so far won 29 medals in international events. The tally had crossed the 200 mark in national competitions. “I have my fingers crossed. Hope the policy gets implemented soon as promised,” he added.