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Chastened by Puhan affair, Odisha govt moots policy on jobs to star sports persons

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 6:

Under fire after ace rower Pratima Puhan was forced to play for Chandigarh after failing to get a job in the state, the Odisha government today decided to formulate a policy to provide direct employment to sports persons who have brought laurels for the state at national and international events.

Pratima Puhan being conferred with the Biju Patnaik Award for the Best Sportswoman for the year 2010 by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on August 29
Pratima Puhan being conferred with the Biju Patnaik Award for the Best Sportswoman for the year 2010 by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on August 29

The decision was taken at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here today.

Briefing media persons after the meeting, Sports and Youth Affairs minister Sudam Marandi said; “We have decided to formulate a policy to provide direct employment to Odia athletes representing in international matches.”

Asked whether the government would provide employment to such athletes only in the government sector or private sector also, Marandi replied, “A decision on this will be taken soon. It was only a preliminary discussion today. The CM has agreed in principle with my proposal for a comprehensive policy in this regard.”

Presently, the State government has provision of only one percent reservation for sports persons, but the athletes are facing problems in getting jobs under the reservation criteria.

Disheartened after her sustained efforts to get a job inside the State went in vain, Puhan, who brought laurels for the state and the country by winning the bronze medal in the women’s coxless pair event with Pramila Prava Minz in the 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou in China, has decided to represent Chandigarh.