AUGUSTO RODRIGUES | NT
The parents of swimmers who were training under Goa Swimming Association (GSA) coach Surajit Ganguly – arrested by the Mapusa police for allegedly raping a 15-year-old swimmer — are still confused as GSA hastens to arrange a new coach instead of settling the questions that have arisen after the arrest of the former coach.
One parent outside the SAG swimming pool in Peddem remarked: “I had to pay Rs 3,000 every month. If the coach was appointed by SAI, how did GSA allow the coach to charge us? Now the GSA is stating that they are going to appoint another coach. Are we supposed to pay this new coach? How could we the Association have allowed a coach to charge us?”
With the police having arrested Surajit, enthusiasm at the swimming pool is slowly getting back to its normal but the apprehension in the minds of parents of younger swimmers persists because of the haste in which GSA is trying to appoint a new swimming coach.
“I have been told by GSA to come to report to the swimming pool. I have worked in the private sector for seven years and am not just ready to leave my job and jump into one where there is no clarity on my appointment,” stated NIS swimming coach Afra Shaikh who is touted to be the new coach but with no written commitment from either Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) or GSA.
“I have this letter sent by Whatsapp from GSA that says that I should report to the SAG pool in Peddem but it does not spell out any other details. I do not know whether they are expecting me to charge the students or whether SAG is going to pay me or whether they are. I need clarity on the matter,” Afra told The Navhind Times at the SAG swimming pool in Peddem on Tuesday.
“I cannot allow any coach to train any swimmer in the swimming pool unless I have a letter on the SAG letter head. Today, the police are questioning me how I allowed Surajit to use the pool based on a letter from GSA. I have to face the police for acts of omissions of others. I will not allow it to happen now,” said Anil Arolkar, a SAG cricket coach, given charge of the swimming pool in Peddem.
“Surajit was a nuisance for over a year and a half that he was using the pool. He used to collect more than a lakh of rupees from students every month and treated us as his servants,” complained Anil. “He had a very bad attitude,” added Anil.
“He would allow his swimmers to enter the pool without having a shower; he used to allow the boys to change in the swimming corridors; he used to take classes till 8.00 pm; he used to keep the gym open till midnight because he was given the keys of the gymnasium. These are just some of the things the coach was given permission to do when he should not have,” claimed Anil.
“I was taking verbal orders from my superiors and I have to answer the police for that today. I have told my superiors that from now on everything has to be in writing on a SAG letter head and not GSA,” stressed Anil.
There is an air of confusion in SAG over who heads the organisation after the government issued an order on August 28, 2019 appointing Hemant Kumar (IAS) as Executive Director of SAG and V M Prabhudesai as Director of Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs (DSYA) and the former not handing charge to the later till Tuesday evening.
“I have been asked by the Sports Minister to continue as ED of SAG as they are going to cancel the previous order,” Prabhudesai told this newspaper. “SAG can at best allow the swimming coach to use the pool in Peddem. We are not appointing any coach,” Prabhudesai confirmed to The Navhind Times.