HYDERABAD: Though efforts are on to save almost extinct sports like sepak takraw, a form of volleyball played with foot, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has only two permanent player-cum-coaches to train the budding athletes in the city. Let alone sepak takraw, the coach-crunch seems to negatively impact the 51 different sports that the corporation promotes. With investment of about Rs 11 crore every year to maintain the 17 modern sports complexes, 521 playgrounds, and purchase playing equipment, there is a lack of zeal to train budding athletes through coaches.
The GHMC, over past few years, has been quick to take credit for athletes’ success after their performance at international arena but does not seem too interested in recruiting permanent coaches. This, according to several part-time coaches, is reducing job satisfaction in them to produce quality players from the corporation and forcing them to rely on other income sources to make ends meet.An RTI filed in this regard has brought to light that there are 65 part-time coaches engaged through their respective associations currently working at the department. Two player-cum-coaches offer training in volleyball and football.
“The facilities are close to international standards but there are no dedicated people to train the athletes,” observed Adbul Akram, an RTI activist. Though a contractual-based system is followed, at least those who played and are playing national and international can be appointed as player-cum-coach, he suggested.
A part time coach, on condition of anonymity, said that the salary has been at a stagnant `6,000 for many years now. “I need to train at other schools in order to meet my needs,” he said.
Severe manpower crunch
The department also has a severe manpower crunch with no ‘formalised’ recruitment taken up for around 41 years now. The last time 33 player-cum-coaches were recruited was in 1977 as per data provided by GHMC officials. There are about 30 vacancies in the department to be filled currently. “There has been no formalised recruitment conducted over the past decades,” said Adwait Kumar Singh, Additional Commissioner, GHMC (sports).
“We are currently working out on a vacancy assessment report to know the exact demand based on the need of the grounds and the different sports they offer,” he added. It is learnt that there has been a 75 per cent pay hike for the four different bands of salaried coaches —outsourced and permanent. The increased remuneration would be paid after budget is released by the exchequer from December 1, 2017.
Rs 49 crore spent
Between 2014-15 and 2017-18, the corporation has spent about `49 crore towards playground improvements & maintenance and purchase of sports equipment.