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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Rajasthan's paralympic-medalists not paid salary by forest department

Three Indian para-medalists who have been working in the Rajasthan forest department had not been paid their salary for months after they had joined the department.

Para shooter Avani Lekhara
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Avani Lekhara with her gold medal (Source Navbharat Times)
By

Kaustub Bharadwaj

Updated: 4 Sep 2021 6:00 AM GMT

Three Indian para-medalists who have been working in the Rajasthan forest department had not been paid their salary for months after they had joined the department. Gold medalist Avani Lekhara, silver medalist Devendra Jhajharia and bronze medal winner Sundar Singh Gurjar all took up jobs as officers of the rank of assistant conservators in the Rajasthan forest department in the last year. They had not been paid their salary since they joined.

Devender Jhajharia and Sundar Singh Gurjar

Avani joined the department in April this year and has not been paid for 4-5 months. Devendra Jhajharia and Sundar Singh Gurjar joined these jobs last year on November 5th and December 1st respectively and had not been paid for 9 to 10 months. Their backlog was paid in a hurry after they had won medals. It was paid late on Wednesday, the 1st of September.

Officials from the forest department said that the reason for the athletes not being paid is because of 'incomplete documentation'. This was apparently because the athletes were practicing outside the state in the run up to the Tokyo Paralympics. "An employee must be physically present to create a permanent retirement account number and link it to Aadhaar. Since they were not in Rajasthan, this couldn't be done. Also, the players formally joined service at the state secretariat instead of Aranya Bhawan (the forest department headquarters)," a senior official said.

Deep Narayan Pandey, the head of forest forces said that the rules had been eased to pave the way for them to be paid. He said that they changed the rules of salary disbursement were changed after people highlighted this issue.

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