Needy sportsmen cry for help as MBMC sits on funds

Bhayandar: In a classic case of bureaucratic apathy which is bound to stonewall ambitions of budding sportspersons, a young karate player – Beeru Verma (13) – from Mira Road is struggling hard to fund his travel to Osmanabad to take part in a state-level Sikai Martial Arts-tourney on October 21.

Beeru and Poonam Tamoli have been selected to represent the twin-city. With just three days left, Beeru is still worried. Neither is Beeru’s mother in a condition to bear the expenses, nor is the sports wing of the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) in a mood to help him out.

Moved by his plight, Beeru’s classmates pooled their pocket money to raise Rs 2,000. A std VIII student in a civic school in Kashigaon, Beeru’s father is no more and his mother works as a helper at an industrial unit. Though the MBMC has a dedicated sports welfare fund, officials expressed helplessness due to a general body resolution which allows spending on participation in national and international level competitions.

“After my efforts to drill sense in the minds of the officials failed, I have decided to shoulder the expenses of the contestants,” said Congress corporator Prabhat Patil.

Interestingly, Beeru started training at an young age under the guidance of an auto driver Vinod Kadam who is a karate champion holding a third dan (rank) black belt and imparts training to poor aspirants for free. As per rules, the civic body apart is mandated to spend five percent of its total budget expenditure on promotion of sports activities. However, the earmarked funds have remained largely unused for past several fiscals, defeating the very purpose aimed at encouraging and building a sports culture in the region.

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