Don’t know what happened to CM’s promise, says heptathlete Swapna Barman
Asiad 2018’s gold medal-winning heptathlete Swapna Barman has hit out at West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for not keeping her promise of giving her a land after her achievement. The Jalpaiguri-based athlete has also been excluded from the TOPS, making things all the more difficult for her.
After Barman had won the yellow metal at the Asian Games last season, the West Bengal chief minister had reportedly promised her a plot of land, which was also supposed to be closer to the SAI Eastern Centre in Salt Lake in order to facilitate her training. However, Barman has now lashed out at the administration for not taking any action whatsoever.
“We have made so many requests but the officials have told us that the finance committee has rejected the proposal of a land. I want to know whether the Chief Minister is aware that I’ve been denied a piece of land despite her promise,” Barman said on the sidelines of an event Kolkata, reported PTI.
“I’ve just got Rs 10 lakh and a rented house, for which I’m paying rent of Rs 4,000 from my own pocket. It’s really frustrating and I feel ignored,” she added.
Barman went to cite examples of numerous athletes from the state who have reaped benefits following the achievements like 2002 Asian Games silver medallist Soma Biswas, archer Dola Banerjee (2010 CWG gold medallist), paddlers Mouma Das and Poloumi Ghatak, and swimmer Bula Chaudhary (all Arjuna awardees), who were all gifted land.
“No one is talking in favour of me. I don’t know what has happened to the promise,” said the athlete who has been undergoing rehab for her back injury as well as a meniscus tear of the knee.
Barman would look to better her personal record of 6026 points to 6,420 points prior to the Olympics to qualify in the extravaganza, but with her fighting against the time, things are getting delayed. “It’s tough but I’m confident. I will do my best next year to raise the points,” stated a confident Barman.
“It would have been nice to be there in TOPS. But I don’t have any regrets... My focus is on ensuring that I’m in the best possible shape ahead of Tokyo Olympics,” she added.