Harmeet Desai calls out Gujarat gov over cash prize

Be careful about how much you celebrate based on what the government promises to shower upon you. Take the instance of Harmeet Desai for reference. Harmeet happens to be Gujarat’s only gold medallist from the recently completed Commonwealth Games and the government had apparently promised him 1 crore.

However, it so happens that Harmeet Desai has received only 1/3rd of the promised amount. According to reports, the Gujarat government paid him only ’33 lakh as his cash award, reasoning that his gold medal came in a team event and was thus, not an individual gold.

Disappointed at being tricked by the government, Harmeet pointed out that all the other states have given their athletes the whole amount as cash even if they were in team events. Moreover, he had not received any money for winning bronze in doubles.

The reason behind pointing this out lies in the fact that, the website of the sports, youth and cultural activities department of the state government indicates specifically that gold medal winners at the Commonwealth Games are given a cash award of Rs 1 crore, while silver and bronze medalists get Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh, respectively.

Before meeting the Gujarat Chief Minister, Harmeet tweeted, “Very excited to meet the Gujarat CM @vijayrupanibjp today. I hope I won’t be deprived of what I deserve. I hope your decision will not disappointment or dishearten me and the people of Gujarat.”

After the meeting, Harmeet said that the CM, Vijay Rupani had assured him that he would get his owed amount soon. Harmeet said, “I am the only medal winner from Gujarat. I raised a question about this (verbally) with the CM today. He assured me that I will be get enhanced prize money after being considered as a special case.”

“States like Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra give their gold medal winners in all disciplines the full amount, even if it is a team event. I am only asking why I have got one-third of the cash award,’ Harmeet added.

The table tennis star also revealed this was not the first time that the Gujarat government had treated him this way. According to him, after the Commonwealth Asian Championships (Seniors) in 2015, where he won gold in both the men’s team event and the men’s doubles, he had been given only one-third of the prize money, based on the same reasoning.