Legendary Sachin Tendulkar has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to include all international medallists in Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). Talking about the plight that elite sportspersons go through when facing health issues, Tendulkar in his letter cited the example of Hockey Olympic gold medallist Mohammed Shahid's last days.
"I am writing to you as a concerned sportsperson on behalf of all the sportsperson in our country requesting your kind intervention for the inclusion of all sportsperson who have won medals internationally in the list of sportsperson eligible for CGHS facilities," Tendulkar wrote to Modi on October 24, a copy of which is in possession of PTI.
CGHS is availed by all Central Government employees who have access to medical centres which is associated with this scheme.
Tendulkar, in his letter to PM Modi, informed him that he had earlier taken up the issue with both sports ministry and health ministry.
"They (Health Ministry) were supportive of the idea but shared their inability to consider a wider range of sportsperson under CGHS scheme through their reply dated September 14. I completely appreciate and understand their position basis our original request," Tendulkar wrote.
Tendulkar has requested PM to at least consider inclusion of international medallists (non Govt employees) on a "pilot/test', whose cost benefits can be assessed by the sports ministry.
"Once we analyze the cost/benefits the same can be extended to additional categories of sportspersons in a phased manner after the value of Pilot Programme is assessed by Health Ministry," the maestro wrote.
Tendulkar spoke about late Shahid, who got help only during his last days. Shahid passed away due to a liver related problem.
"Not all sportspersons have been historically allocated government jobs, hence even if a limited pool of international medal winners are considered, we can prevent incidents of apathy such as Shri Mohammed Shahid, one of our greatest hockey players," he further wrote.
As a parting shot, Tendulkar wrote: "I have been through several tough injuries where I have felt the pressure of an uncertain comeback. The amount of physical and mental stress that sportsperson goes through is immense.
"The medical cost creates an additional burden on athletes, which in turn acts as a deterrent.