Former India cyclist Swaran Singh has been working night shift as a security guard after having fallen on hard times. Also Read - All members of Tokyo-Bound Indian Contingent Will be Vaccinated Before Departure: Indian Olympic Association
The 70-year-old represented India at the 1970 Asian Games and worked as a sports assistant at the Tata Steel’s welfare department till 1994. He started a transport business after taking retirement which ran well for a while before failing. Also Read - Karate Case: Delhi High Court Imposes Rs.50,000 Fine on Indian Olympic Association Chief Narinder Batra
After being forced to sell his vehicles and part of his property, Swaran has been living in abject poverty in Jamshedpur, somehow making ends meet earning Rs 10,000 per month. Also Read - Indian Olympic Association Vice-President Janardhan Singh Gehlot Dies
He lives alone in a rented apartment as his wife is living with their daughter who is suffering from bone TB.
“There is no one to alleviate my condition. It’s a troubled life, and I am somehow trying to stay afloat,” Swaran told The Telegraph. “I live alone as my wife is with my elder daughter who is suffering from bone TB. I opted for the night shift as I have to cook food and wash clothes in the morning.”
Swaran laments lack of assistance from government of the cycle federation.
“I somehow manage things, including medicines, with the rest of the money. Neither the government, nor the Cycle Federation of India have paid any attention to my plight. I represented my country with pride and won medals for my employers (Tata Steel) and Bihar. But those don’t mean a thing. I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Life has been very cruel to me,” he said.
However, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has received an anonymous appeal to help Swaran.
“I write this with deep anguish as I came to know the pathetic condition of International Cyclist and National Champion Swaran Singh of Tata Steel, Jamshedpur who is living in utter penury and forced to work as Security Guard at an Apartment Block in Baridih, Jamshedpur,” said the appeal, which came from an anonymous sender.
“He is unable to look after his daughter suffering from bone TB. His wife is taking care of his suffering daughter and Swaran Singh is living alone in a rented room, cooking his food himself for which he opted for night shift. I contacted the officials in the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, New Delhi who were prompt to assure financial help to Swaran Singh. Since he had not won any international medal, he is not eligible for the pension.
“The officials of Tata Steel, Jamshedpur were also prompt to assure to look into his case as Swaran Singh served Tata Steel Sports Dept for 24 years and took voluntary retirement in 1994. His son’s name is registered for employment in Tata Steel. Officials of Tata Steel have been requested to provide employment to Swaran Singh’s son who is working as driver in New Delhi.
“I appeal to IOA and Cycling Federation of India to provide financial help to Swaran Singh so that he can rejoin his family and to write to Tata Steel, Jamshedpur to provide employment to his son and allot him Company’s quarter on compassionate ground so that Swaran Singh lives peacefully with his family.”