Twenty-five years ago, the ministry had introduced several centres of Sports Authority of India (SAI) across the country. Considering the present state of affairs, however, it can be said that SAI is far from achieving its goal of churning out top-quality players in any discipline.
A closer look at the miserable condition of the medical centres of SAI centres all over India reveals that there is much left to be desired. Over the last 15 years, there has been an alarming decline in the state and quality of sports science, as well as the condition of doctors at SAI’s various centres.
In the early 1990s, a group of 48 qualified doctors had joined different centres of SAI. Since 1993, eighteen of these doctors have resigned from their services. Moreover, it has been learnt that six more highly qualified doctors are mulling leaving SAI soon.
Most of the doctors who have left SAI are currently settled in other circuits and are faring moderately. SAI’s top brass, however, still appears reluctant when the topic of revival of the medical front crops up.
When asked about the situation, PSM Chandran who, after retiring recently, is still on contract with the SAI till 2010 as a Senior Scientific Officer (SSO) at its head office in New Delhi admitted that things are far from being alright.
Chandran, who also has been assigned to unofficially monitor all the SAI medical centres in India, told The Indian Express recently: “It is true that the top brass of SAI should have been more careful with the handling of the doctors who have left, who were qualified and deserved honorable positions”.
He added: “The key factor that forced them to leave SAI was that there were no promotions. Explaining the situation, we submitted several proposals to the SAI top brass for the revival of medical centres and better handling of doctors. We proposed to increase the number of designations of the doctors at SAI. It is not very nice to say that there are only nine doctors at SAI across the country now. I hope the administration responds to our appeal.”
Explaining the reason behind their resignation from SAI, one of the doctors said on condition of anonymity: “The doctors, despite having a high profile and consistent performance, do not get the promotions they deserve. The maximum scope a doctor, joining any SAI centre at the post of Junior Scientific Officer (JSO), has is finishing his career at SAI itself as a Senior Scientific Officer (SSO). As an SSO, your monthly salary won’t exceed Rs 15,000”.
“Moreover, the corruption in SAI administration at all the centres was also a major factor that forced several qualified and quality doctors to leave,” said the doctor.
The Union sports ministry, it seems, is learning from its mistakes, and taking steps to rectify them. For, it is learnt that Chandran’s appeal and suggestions to consider the scientific officers’ promotion and restructure their financial status have been responded by the SAI top brass. It is believed that the Union sports ministry as well as SAI top brass are in a procedure to restructure the doctors’ salary structure, and will implement it from next year.