Wednesday, August 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Crisis hits sports administration

I WENT through Mr Amrik Singh’s scholarly article (“Sports administration: role of governments & federations”, August 10) with keen interest. Politics is a dirty word, especially when it manifests itself in the world of sports. So, when an Indian politician announces that the government plans to accord high priority to sports, it only means that there will be more money for sports administrators to play around in the years to come.

The conduct of sports in this country is in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats — you name any organisation, the presiding deity will be either a minister, an ex-minister, or an IAS or IPS officer — who do not have much to do with the game and the discipline concerned. This shows that the aim is not to produce sports persons of international standards but to share in the glory of office that the government dutifully disburses.

In fact, it is these officials who are bringing a bad name to sports in the country. For many people, holding offices in national sports federations has become a “full-time avocation”. They are simply not interested in doing anything for the improvement of their sports disciplines but hold on to their office as it entitles them to make a couple of foreign trips every year.


An international athlete had once said that “Sports administration means politicking” and he was not far from the truth. Coaches too are more keen to further their cause than the cause of their trainees. For the coach the ultimate glory, if one may call it so, is to become a national coach. And most of them want to reach the top via the short-cut method — politicking with the powers that be.

The tragedy is not just politics. There is as yet no tradition in India of spotting talent at a young age and allowing it to grow to its full stature and potential. Elsewhere in the world the nurseries of sports talent are schools, colleges and universities. In India this is not possible because schools find it difficult even to have class-rooms for students and it is too much to expect them to have playgrounds, swimming pools and gymnasia.

The author suggests a standing committee of the Department of Sports to evaluate and categorise once a year the functioning of the different sports federations. I for one, however, would advocate privatisation of sports. The Amrithraj Tennis Academy, the Tata Academy for Football or the MRF Pace Foundation are the best examples of privatisation of sports. And if these institutions can do so well why have the government-funded institutions like the Sports Authority of India, the National Institute of Sports or National Physical Education College at Gwalior not prospered? The reason can be summed up in just three words — lack of commitment.

Let me repeat once again that the first and absolutely essential priority is to banish all politicians (and some bureaucrats) from the country’s sports organisations. Sport is too serious a business to be left in the hands of multifaced political opportunists.


The neglected downtrodden

The views expressed in the signed editorial, “The drift must end”, published on August 15, are timely and valuable, but our misfortune is that no government or political party is worried about the miseries of the common man. The attitude of the bureaucracy is the same as it was during the British days.

Actually, for three-fourths of our people “azadi” is meaningless as they continue to suffer social and economic injustice. Rules, laws and regulations are meant for ordinary persons. The privileged people violate the laws and prosper!

Frankly speaking, every project meant for the uplift of the downtrodden becomes a victim of corruption and delaying tactics and is never implemented in time.


Woes of the common man

The Tribune in its report “Garbage pile-up nullifies drive” on August 3 has rightly highlighted the woes of the residents of Hoshiarpur. It has brought to attention the dismal and corrupt functioning of the Municipal Council under political patronage.

It is sad to observe that the Deputy Commissioner’s suggestions and recommendations to check the corrupt practices among officials and contractors have been ignored.

It is horrifying to know that the people who have been elected to take care of the city are subject to such low morals and ethics by having gone to the extent of even compromising on the basic necessities of the common man. Rather oblivious to the signboard which says, “Welcome to the City of Saints”.

As a resident of Hoshiarpur, I plead to the higher authorities to take note of this report in The Tribune and initiate the necessary action to check such blasphemy at the hands of senior politicians, government servants and contractors, and restore basic civic amenities to the people at the earliest.


“Jungle raj” in J & K

The Centre should dismiss the J&K government and impose President’s rule there as the present government has failed to protect the lives of the people of the state. The recent killing of a number of pilgrims at Amarnath shows that there is “jungle raj” in the state.

Separatists are calling the shots in the day-to-day running of the government and people are forced to live under the shadow of militancy.

Moreover, the dialogue with militant groups to restore peace in the region has also failed and there is the likelihood of a spurt in terrorist violence. It is evident that the state government is in no position to tackle the situation.



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