Tuesday 28 June 2022
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Chess champ of special category slams Punjab govt

Chess player Malika Handa wrote she was hurt, as the Punjab government could not give job or cash awards to her as they did not have a policy for deaf players

Malika Handa, the 25-year-old handicapped chess player, lashed out at the government for its inability to fulfil the promise of a job and cash reward on 2 January. She was informed during a meeting with the Sports Minister Pargat Singh on 31 December that the state government could not help her as there was no policy for deaf players, the chess player alleged.

The chess player wrote she was hurt, as the INC government could not give job or cash awards because they did not have a policy for deaf sports. She wrote, “I am only asking why was the reward announced. I wasted 5 years on the Congress government. They fooled me. They do not care about deaf sports. The district Congress leaders had promised to support me during these five years but nothing has happened till now. Why is the Punjab government doing this?”

Moved by her plight, political commentator Anand Ranganathan tweeted, “ govt is apparently denying cash awards due to Malika Handa because it doesn’t have a policy for deaf sports. This is where crowdfunding could really help. Can we please do something? I’ll like to be a donor.”

Malika, who has won gold and two silver medals at the international level, was promised a job and cash reward by the former sports minister of Punjab. She added she was only asking for what was promised to her by the former sports minister. She alleged that the state govt had fooled her and accused them of not caring about the deaf sportsperson. She said the district INC members also told showed their support, but nothing had happened in five years.

“Why, why govt doing this ?” she asked.

Suresh Handa, her father, told The Tribune, “Malika is very upset today. My son Atul Handa and I had accompanied her to the office of the director of sports, but she almost got a refusal. My daughter has been playing the game for the past 8-10 years and has been bringing medals for the country and the state just with a hope that these would fetch her job offer just like other Olympians and para-athletes.”

He said for the past 2-3 years, she was told to complete her graduation to get a good government job. She approached the director of sports as she had completed her graduation. “She got the reply that there was no policy yet in the state to offer jobs to hearing-impaired athletes. This is the fag end of the tenure of the present government. If they have not made a policy till now, they will be able to make it even in the next three months. My daughter has lost all hopes, and it is really difficult to convince her at this stage,” he said.

Director Sports of DPS Kharbanda said, “Malika came to me with her father and brother. They discussed her case with me for good 30-40 minutes. I told them that the government has a policy for able-bodied players and para-athletes (arms and legs handicap) but none of the other 21 types of disabilities, which includes blindness, hearing disorders or mental retardation.”

He further added that the government would soon come up with the policy, but “I told the parents to make her apply for other government jobs like that of a constable. She has a state certificate in the able-bodied general category, where the department can help her get a job under the 3 per cent quota. We can also help her with the union government jobs where there already is a policy for deaf players. She must not lose her heart. The government and the department will back her wherever it can on a merit basis.”

The Tribune said further that the sports minister had extended her Rs 11 worth cash reward ‘over and above the policy. Malika has been asking for the financial support and job that the govt promised. In November last year, she posted on Twitter that she had been waiting for the Punjab govt’s invite for the job and cash rewards for two months as she was a graduate now, but the state government was not paying any attention to her requests.

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