MUMBAI: After Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju, former Maharashtra sports minister Ashish Shelar has also requested Union railways minister Piyush Goyal to restore the fare concessions for athletes travelling for various sports meets.
The concessions, across 38 categories which include sportspersons and senior citizens, were stopped by the railways ministry through its circular on March 19, 2020 in a move to discourage train journey and contain the spread of Covid-19.
With sporting activity resuming in the country now, a large number of sportspersons are heavily dependent on the railways for their travel and the fare concessions help state associations ease the financial burden of sending their athletes for various all India, state and national events.
Shelar, a former Mumbai Cricket Association president and BJP leader, wrote a letter to Goyal and spoke with him expressing his concern about the sportspersons. The 48-year-old, contesting for the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) president's post in their upcoming polls, feels he was duty-bound to address this issue.
"It is a genuine concern of our sportspersons, which I have taken up at the highest level. I am confident of a positive response soon," he said in an official statement.
In his letter to Goyal, Shelar wrote: "As sporting activity resumes across the country, complying with all Covid-19 norms of course, sportspersons are looking to travel from one city to another, from one town to another, to compete in various tournaments and competitions. In addition, many youngsters, boys and girls, need to travel for training, coaching and attending camps."
"May I bring to your attention the fact that due to withdrawal of travel concessions, there is a great financial burden on the sportspersons and their respective sports federations. I would appreciate if the railway ministry restores travel concession for all sportspersons to support their sporting endeavours," he added.
On Thursday, Rijiju had also written to Goyal, requested him to restore the privileges.
In a letter to Goyal, Rijiju wrote: "Now, since the training and sports competitions have started, the sports persons are facing difficulties due to withdrawal of the concession in passenger fares while travelling to participate in all India, state and national level tournaments."
Rijiju said during his interaction with sportspersons and sports administrators, he has been apprised of the difficulties being faced by them due to withdrawal of the Railway concession.
"The Indian Olympic Association has also submitted a representation in this regard. In view of the above, I shall be grateful if you could kindly get the concession restored for sportspersons in passenger fares in the best interest of sports and Indian sportspersons," he added. IANS