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IHF EC Meeting at Bangalore (2/22/2002)
Indian Hockey Federation’s first Executive Committee meeting in two years coming off this week at Bangalore is expected to be a stormy affair. The IHF’s recent controversial, five-fold revision of annual subscription fee for State Units and capitation fee for domestic tournaments, and merger modalities of men and women federations are among the key issues expected to generate considerable heat. The convening of the meeting itself has already created a controversy with a section of the State Units demanding Annual General Body Meeting instead in view of the serious nature of the agenda. Added to this is IHF’s failure to annex the copies of audited accounts with the agenda papers.

In the last two years since its last Hyderabad meeting held on 26th March 1999, the IHF has taken many vital decisions which will come up for discussion and ratification in the meeting. The most controversial one is hiking of annual subscription fees for state units from Rs.2000 to 10000, for institutions 5,000 to 25, 0000, associate membership fee from Rs. 5 lacs to 10 and doubling of capitation fee for domestic tournaments. Though the revision details (letter no.38/2000) had been conveyed to all concerned four months ago, in a bold defiance, no State Unit has complied with so far.

“In 1994 also there was some hike, but that was done after a sub-committee which I headed had recommended, and then ratified by the EC”, says M.S. Balakrishnan, one of the seven vice presidents of the IHF and till recently secretary of the powerful Indian Airlines Sports Control Board. “There is also another sad development. We are asked to pay the expenses of our player selected for the national team. I fought against this archaic practice; it was dispensed away with after 1994. For no reasons, the IHF has again started demanding money from us, about 30 to 40 thousand rupees for each player. We normally contribute 5-6 player in a team. Why we have to be punished for producing players for the country? I will certainly raise these issues at Bangalore though I had already written to the Federation explaining my stand ”.

Another Vice president T. Jesudanam, IAS, who inquired into the Agha Khan Cup violence in 1995 and found the Punjab Police players guilty concurs, “How can we discuss and ratify the accounts of last two years when the relevant papers are not provided to us till today. As happened in the past, they will try to hush up the things this time also. I don’t understand how paid employees like security officer of Mr. Gill(IHF president) are signing important letters which is otherwise prerogative of elected office bearers like Secretary or Treasurer. The manager of India’s Sydney World Cup and Hiroshima Asia Cup teams says he had brought his views to the attention of the IHF chief recently. Many insider claim his recent letter is explosive in nature as it rakes up corruption issues too. “The IHF constitution stipulates two EC and one AGM meetings in a year. However, in the last seven years only five EC and one AGM meeting have been held.”

Former IHF president Inder Mohan Mahajan says it is constitutionally incorrect and legally untenable to discuss merger of IHF and Indian Women Hockey Federation in EC meeting as is being sought to be done now. “Only General Body can take such a major decision. It has already been announced Mr. Gill is president of the merged body (Indian Hockey Confederation) and Mrs. Vidhya Stokes its executive Chairman. That means after the election you are coming back to EC for ratification? Can it happen anywhere? Even IWHF decided the merger in their AGM”. Mahajan has expertise in the merger issue as he was the Indian representative when the women and men federations merged to form the Asian Hockey Federation in 1981 when he was president of IHF. “Even in Scotland and England, both men women bodies decided to merge first separately then in a combined meeting elections took place based on a new constitution”.

Another issue likely to spark fly in the EC is implication of Krishna Mech, Public Relations Officer of IHF in the Ashok Saikia (Joint Secretary in the Prime Miniser’s Office) case. In his interview published in Indian Express dated 10th of this month, Saikia was quoted as saying, ‘I sold my car to a gentleman called Krishna Mech. He, it was turned out, was involved in a scam of sorts in TRIFED’. Mech has been in the thick of things with IHF as its negotiator of telecast rights with Doordarshan and manager of the 2001 Australia tour.

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