Odisha claims ₹4.09 cr spent on Dutee since 2015; athlete begs to differ

The controversy that has erupted with Dutee Chand’s tweet to sell her luxury car has led to several claims and counter claims between the star athlete and the Odisha State Government.

The State Government in a statement has claimed that ₹ 4.09 financial assistance has been extended to Dutee Chand since 2015. Without disputing the figure, she says it does not provide the correct picture.

The amount also includes ₹ 3 crore given to her for winning two medals at the Asian Games and the salary she draws from her employer Odisha Mining Corporation.

The Department of Sports and Youth Services of the Government of Odisha in a statement has claimed that “the total financial support provided to Dutee Chand from State Government/OMC is ₹4.09 crore (after 2015).

“Rupees 3 crore as financial incentive for medals won at Asian Games 2018; ₹30 lakh for training and financial support during 2015-19; ₹50 lakh for training support for Tokyo Olympics released in two instalments.”

The sprinter contests that ₹ 3 crore she received as incentive for winning the medals at the Asian Games are not part of the aid.

“I am indebted to the Odisha Government for supporting me all these years, but this ₹4 crore does not show the correct picture. Everybody will start thinking that Dutee has spent so much money,” PTI has reported Dutee as saying.

“The ₹3 crore is the prize money the Odisha Government had given me for winning two silver medals in 2018 Asian Games. It is just like what a PV Sindhu or any other medal winner gets from the State Governments like Haryana or Punjab. It should not be considered as financial assistance for training.”

The Government statement had come after Dutee had reportedly said that she wanted to sell her luxury car to support her training expenses. She had later clarified that car was not put on sale for meeting her training costs, but she found the maintenance too expensive.

“I took to social media to sell my car BMW. I don’t have the resources to maintain luxury cars, though I love them. I am not able to use the car and it is a spendthrift expense on my part. I never expressed that I am selling it to fund my training,” Dutee had said.

The Odisha Government has also claimed that Dutee has received ₹ 29 lakh for training expenditure and financial incentives from the Odisha Mining Corporation, where she is  employed as a Group-A level officer.

“This ₹29 lakh is inclusive of my salary and I don’t know how it is for training support. I am an employee (of OMC) and I have to get my salary. I have to find out,” says Dutee.

The Government’s statement said the 24-year-old drew a gross salary of ₹84,604 per month from OMC in contradiction to her claim on Wednesday that she gets ₹60,000.

“She is currently drawing a gross salary of ₹84,604 (June 2020 Salary) per month. She is not required to come to office so that she is able to concentrate full-time on training… Accordingly, since her appointment in OMC, no official work has been allotted to Chand,” the statement added.

Dutee, on her part, said that she was not “sitting idle at home” and was bringing medals for the country and making her employers proud. “When I won medals, I think I was doing something for my employers also. I am making them proud. I was not sitting idle at home, it is not that I have stopped winning medals. Instead of using pen and paper at the office, I was toiling at the training ground and stadia.”

Meanwhile, Dutee will not sell her car now. The KIIT founder and Member of Parliament Achyuta Samanta has assured her financial support for her training. “I have been offered financial support by even Union Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) and Sports Minister (Kiren Rijiju). They called me a few days back but I have politely told them I will approach them when it is needed.”

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