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Sports Ministry has not kept its word: Baljit

Source: PTI
January 15, 2010 10:29 IST
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Former hockey goalkeeper Baljit Singh on Thursday accused Sports Minister MS Gill of not fulfilling his commitment of helping him regain his full vision and alleged the Ministry brought him back midway through his treatment in the US.

"I lost one of my eyes while practicing at the national camp. But the Sports Minister has no sentiments associated with any player. If he had any sentiments then he would have been with me till I was cured, as promised," Baljit said.

"When I suffered the injury, Mr Gill had made the commitment that he will see to it that I regain my full vision. If he has made a commitment then he should fulfill it.

"But they (Sports Ministry officials) called me back from America when I was about to undergo a second surgery to repair my eye, which was a necessary operation," he added.

Baljit suffered a career-threatening injury on his right eye while practising with a golf ball at a national camp in Pune last year.

Soon after the incident, the Sports Minister had announced that the government would bear all the cost of Baljit's treatment till he regains his complete vision and accordingly sent him to Alabama, US for treatment.

But after one successful surgery in the US, the Chandigarh lad had to return before a major surgery after the Ministry refused to fund his treatment any further, saying the operation can easily be done in India.

But Baljit said that for the last three months he has received no co-operation from the Sports Ministry.

"I constantly appealed to the Sports Minister to complete my treatment but Gill bluntly refused, saying there was no money in Hockey India or the IOA. Gill also stressed that the Sports Ministry could not afford to bear costs for my treatment any further," he said.

"Where were these people in the last three months when I was sitting at home hoping for treatment to be completed? They only come in the scenario when the matter comes before the media. I asked only for monetary assistance for my treatment and not any compensation.

"My team raised a voice for me and when the matter came into media, Hockey India had told me that they will pay me Rs 2.5 lakh. But that never came and I incurred all the expenses for my treatment in the US, from my own pocket," added Baljit, who was India's No 1 goalkeeper when the incident occured.

"I thank the Minister for whatever he has done for me but I would request him not to stop my treatment midway. I would request him to help complete my treatment. I request him to think about my future," he said.

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