Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Protesting the decision to merge the Special Area Games Scheme ( SAG) with SAI Training Centers ( STC) veteran sports administrator BVP Rao on Friday resigned from the governing body of Sports Authority of India (SAI).
Claiming that this merger decision will be detrimental for the indigenous games in the country, Rao said SAI should have revived and strengthened SAG instead of mindlessly merging with failed STC scheme.
"My only umbilical cord with SAI has been the SAG scheme, which I conceived, planned and implemented for the first five years of it’s launch. As that connection is permanently destroyed, I don’t have any reason to be associated with SAI. Hence, I do here by resign as the member of Governing Body of SAI ' Rao said in a letter to sports minister Kiren Rijiju, he said "I am deeply saddened that the Governing Body of Sports Authority of India ( SAI) has decided that Special Area Games Scheme ( SAG) will be merged with SAI Training Centers ( STC) in it’s last meeting chaired by you "
” I am given to understand that you have discussed my suggestion NOT to merge SAG with STC scheme during the last Governing Body meting of SAI. I am told you seems to have commented that the SAG Scheme was working well years ago but it is not the same today.
“I agree with you to some extent. Over the years several bureaucrats who succeeded me and several Sports Ministers who preceded you, have watered down the SAG scheme for various reasons. If the SAG is not so effective as it was originally intended, is it’s merger with a already proven non working scheme like STC a solution? You could have easily revived and strengthened SAG instead of mindlessly merging with failed STC scheme.
"What is astonishing is that some one like you, who hails from remote tribal state of Arunachal Pradesh, is not able see the importance of the SAG scheme which essentially focuses on the North East India. I dare challenge to you to explain to the Sports World what schemes of SAI or any State Government Scheme can serve or fulfil or replace the purpose of SAG? Or Under your leadership Sports Ministry is able tap the natural talent of remote and tribal areas of the Country?
“You need to answer these questions. Let me remind you, senior bureaucracy in the Ministry of Sports and Sports Authority of India that everyone is accountable on these policy questions of national interest.
I vividly remember cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar calling on DG SAI with a request to make a film on SAG by his own Sports management company. SAG programme is a well recorded and telecasted through a six-part TV serial titled “ Quest for Gold” .
” It is, perhaps, the only Government Scheme in India on which a TV Serial was made with private money! I am quite sure that in a modicum of space SAG may find in the recent history of Indian Sports, the then Sports Minister Mrs Margaret Alva, will be given the credit of nourishing SAG and you will be credited with killing the scheme.
“My only umbilical cord with SAI has been the SAG scheme, which I conceived, planned and implemented for the first five years of its launch. As that connection is permanently destroyed, I don’t have any reason to be associated with SAI. Hence, I do hereby resign as the member of the Governing Body of SAI .” he concluded