The Odisha government on Thursday said that a total of 4.09 crore worth of financial assistance has been provided to Dutee Chand since 2015. This claim was then contested by the athlete saying that 3 crores as prize money for winning her Asian Game medals. The State Government was forced to issue a statement as the athlete posted on social media that she would be selling her BMW car citing maintenance costs.
A statement from the Department of Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha stated, “The total financial support provided to Dutee Chand from State government/OMC is Rs 4.09 crore (after 2015). Rs 3 crore as a financial incentive for medals won at Asian Games 2018; Rs 30 lakh for training and financial support during 2015-19; Rs 50 lakh for training support for Tokyo Olympics released in two instalments.”
The athlete on being contacted said, “I am indebted to the Odisha government for supporting me all these years, but this Rs 4 crore does not show the correct picture. Everybody will start thinking that Dutee has spent so much money. The Rs 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 P V 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 Odisha government said that it had appointed Dutee as a Group-A level officer in Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) which “provided Rs 29 lakh support for her training and financial incentives”. “She is currently drawing a gross salary of Rs 84,604 (June 2020 Salary) per month. She is not required to come to the 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 from the Odisha government said.
Dutee then replied saying that she wasn’t sitting idle at home and winning medals for the country and her employers. “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.”