Swapna Barman still living on rent despite land promise

Asian Games gold medallist Swapna Barman said that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is yet to fulfill her promise.

Swapna Barman in action at the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018.   -  FILE PHOTO/ AP


West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had promised Indian heptathlete Swapna Barman a plot of land for her Asian Games gold last year, but the athlete is yet to hear from the officials.

The Jalpaiguri-born athlete was promised a plot of land in close proximity of the Sports Authority of India Eastern Centre in Saltlake to facilitate her training. It has been close to a year and what she has been provided with is a rented house.

“We have made so many requests but the officials have told us that the finance committee has rejected the proposal of a land. I want to know whether the chief minister is aware that I’ve been denied a land despite her promise,” Swapna said on the sidelines of an event here.

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“I’ve just got Rs 10 lakh and a rented house for which I’m paying rent of Rs 4,000 on my own. It’s really frustrating and I feel ignored,” she rued.

She further cited example of 2002 Asian Games silver medallist Soma Biswas who was provided land by the government at that time.

Apart from that, archer Dola Banerjee (2010 CWG gold medallist), paddlers Mouma Das and Poloumi Ghatak and swimmer Bula Chaudhary (all Arjuna awardees) were also gifted lands during the earlier regime.

“But no one is talking in favour of me. I don’t know what has happened to the promise,” Swapna, who is undergoing rehab for her back injury as well as a meniscus tear of the knee, said.

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Swapna, who has a personal best of 6,026 points, has a challenging task of bettering it to 6,420 points to reach the Olympic qualifying mark.

With time running out for Tokyo 2020, Swapna said: “It’s tough but I’m confident. I will do my best next year to raise the points.”

That she is no longer a part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) makes it all the more difficult.

“It would have been nice to be there in TOPS. But I don’t have any regrets. My focus is on ensuring that I’m in the best possible shape ahead of Tokyo Olympics,” she said.

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