Railways seeks separate Administrative Cadre for Sportspersons: says CRB

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presenting the award to hockey player Amandeep Kaur
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presenting the award to hockey player Amandeep Kaur

New Delhi: The Union Sports Ministry may not have decided on developing a separate administrative cadre for sportspersons but Indian Railways is considering the same.

At a function to felicitate sportspersons employed with Indian Railways for their national and international achievements here on Wednesday night, Railway Board Chairman A.K.Mital said the organisation was in favour of the proposal and requested Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu to consider it seriously.

“It is often difficult to get sportspersons relieved from their respective departments and regular duties for camps and events. A separate sports cadre for active sportspersons within RSPB would help them concentrate on their training,” Mital said in the presence of Prabhu.

He added that the decision, along with RSPB’s recent circular stipulating 330 days’ leave in a year for international sportspersons, would also help streamline the working of other departments that suffer when sportspersons take leave for participating in competitions.

“We are also trying to encourage the use of grants and funds for developing better infrastructure for players instead of spending them only on organising events,” Mital said.

The event itself, though, was far from being organised. Not only did it start way behind schedule, there was no uniformity in the athletes’ presence either. While the men’s hockey team was invited for winning the national championships after 18 years, the women were ignored with only the Asiad winners present.

“The women’s team keeps winning the nationals, it is no big deal,” was the bizarre defence given by an official.

Not all national championship winners across sports were invited either, with the volleyball teams missing. Similarly, while some of the athletes had been instructed to turn up in formal attire, others were dressed casually.

A cash prize of Rs. 25, 20 and 15 lakhs respectively were announced for podium finishers at the Asian Games but most athletes claimed they were yet to receive even their promised increments and promotions after the Commonwealth Games and Asiad last year. “Career progression for a good athlete is very important else they will keep leaving us for better opportunities,” admitted a senior RPB official but claimed procedural delays were inevitable.