Rowing Federation of India targetted? No, says sports ministry

Rowing Federation of India president Rajalakshmi Singh Deo

CHENNAI: Days after this newspaper reported that Rowing Federation of India (RFI) president Rajalakshmi Singh Deo had sent a letter to sports minister Kiren Rijiju alleging ‘discourteous and disrespectful behaviour’ by sports secretary Radheshyam Julaniya during an Annual Calendar for Tr­a­ining and Competition (ACTC) meeting, the sports ministry shot back a letter asking them to adhere to National Sports Development Code (NSDC) of 2011. Though the quantum of punishment is not defined, sanctions could be as severe as de-recognition.

The letter said if the federation doesn’t respond, addressed to RFI secretary general Girish Phadnis and signed by director (sports) Rohit Bhardwaj, within seven days, the ministry will be forced to take action as deemed fit under the code.

The rowing federation felt the letter was issued because they had complained about the secretary. However, a top ministry official pooh-poohed the allegations and said RFI was not singled out. The official said such a letter has been sent to a few other federations.

The letter, which this daily has been privy to, states that the renewal of recognition was conditional for 2019 as RFI was not fully compliant with the NSDC requirements. According to the letter, the federation was given time till March 31 and a reminder was again sent on May 29.

“However, even till date, the information inter-alia, regarding details of core probables, constitution, details of ACTC, contact details of office bearers, selection criteria along with list of athletes selected, coaching camps, details of I-Card issued by NSF, details of certificate issued by NSF, details of funding from other sources, details of revenue generated by self, etc. have not been provided by RFI on its website,” the letter said.

However, Rajalakshmi maintained that the above-mentioned details are listed on the federation’s website.
“I have nothing more to add. I have asked for an appointment with honourable sports minister Kiren Rijiju to explain the situation,” she said. But when contacted, a top official in the ministry revealed that the notice sent to RFI has nothing to do with the ACTC meeting.

“This letter has gone to a few other federations as well. The Paralympic Committee of India apparently is one of them. The notice is about the renewal of recognition and has nothing to do with the ACTC. We have given them all a notice and if they don’t respond, we will have to take necessary action.

“This is not linked with the ACTC meeting. This is prior to that. The RFI ACTC meeting was on a larger issue. That meeting ended with the decision to reconvene two weeks later, to which the federation has agreed,” said the official.