Para-athlete’s dreams bulldozed by Ghaziabad authority

- February 12, 2024
| By : Muhammad Tahir |

Deepak, who is aspiring to win an international medal, was fully dependant on his food kiosk that was destroyed by the municipality

BIG TARGET: Deepak failed to win a medal at Para National Games but is eyeing an international medal

After his shop was bulldozed by the Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam, para player Deepak is worried about how his dream of winning an international medal will be achieved. 

Deepak, who is 100% disabled, has participated in various national-level events in discus throw and other events.

“Due to tension, I couldn’t perform well there. Even after almost a month, I am worried about it,” said the 36 years old to Patriot.

Deepak, who lives in Vaishali with wife and parents, is worried about his survival. This shop was the only source of income for his family. 

On January 8, Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) bulldozed his shop, which he set up two years ago with the help of government’s mudra loan.

“I had set up a kiosk of food, juice among others in 2021 in Vaishali Sector 3 in front of Income Tax Bhawan. I took a Rs 2 lakh loan for it under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana,” he said. 

“When I approached the bank for a mudra loan, they also asked me about the work. They came to inquire and clicked the picture of the place, then passed the loan.”

He alleged he was asked for a bribe.

“Since the start, Sweeper Supervisor Ombir disturbed me and asked for a bribe. Then I started giving him Rs 1500 rupees monthly. Besides 1500, I paid 10 rupees per day to the sweeper too,” said Deepak.

“Then he asked for Rs 5000 per month. When I refused, he threatened saying, ‘tujhe dekh lunga (I will see you)’. And on January 8, without any prior notice, he demolished the shop. I lost around one lakh rupees.”

In 2008, Deepak met with an accident and injured his spine. He became 100% disabled and has been on a wheelchair since then. He has lost power of both hands and legs.

SHATTERED: Deepak’s kiosk that was bulldozed by the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC)

“They said that this is in the green belt area. If it is, then why nothing happened for two years. I was also following the rules of the government, under the mudra loan scheme, as registered in MSME,” he added. 

“In the beginning, my brother-in-law was helping me to run this, and now my cousin is running this. I also go away for some time, because I prefer to play.”

Shattered dreams 

Deepak has various dreams. But now, after the demolition of his shop, he is in a limbo.

“Everything was going smoothly. Thanks to the income from this shop, I was participating in competitions. I was investing my income in competitions hoping that I will win an international medal in future and will get a government job based on it, but they shattered my dreams.”

Deepak, who represents UP, has won many medals and was planning to win an international one.

“After the accident in 2008, I started playing para games like wheelchair rugby in 2009. I participated in an international game in Bengaluru. After that I continued playing and also participated in a world championship held in South Korea in 2013,” he added. 

“In 2015, I replaced rugby with club and discus throw, which I play till now. On the day the GMC destroyed the shop, I was going to Goa to participate in Para National Games.”

Deepak recalled, “I won two gold medals in both discus and club throw in a championship held in Noida last year. I want to win an international medal for my country and am preparing for it.  But everything has stopped.” 

Due to his disability, Deepak needs family members as escort during trips. He travels along with his wife and father.

“Expenses of three people in travel is also a challenge now without income. The government will give refund but only later. I am unable to prepare and missed an event held in Gwalior,” he said.

“The Nagar Ayukt has started an inquiry and promised to pay compensation to us. Who will pay the bribe I gave to Safai Nayak. They also said he will be demoted. I am disturbed by this. At least they can restart my shop so that I can survive and focus on my game,” said Deepak.

Patriot approached Nigam Ayukt of Ghaziabad, Vikramaditya Singh Malik. His personal assistant Arun said, “I will tell sir about you and refer to investigation officer of the case, Pallavi Singh.” 

Pallavi said, “Investigation is going on. I will file the final report soon. About the allegations and others, I can’t disclose anything yet.”