Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan gave Rs.73 lakh to the women’s hockey players, who are protesting here against Hockey India (HI) for the non-payment of their dues.

Chouhan handed cheques of Rs.1 lakh each to 18 players and five officials and coaches at a dinner hosted at his official residence Thursday.

He also gave an additional Rs.50 lakh to captain Surinder Kaur for clearing outstanding dues of other players.

Chouhan had given Rs.1 crore earlier to the Union Sports Ministry for distribution to the players, but that money is still to reach them.

“When I came to know that the players have not got the money, I immediately told the officials to prepare the cheques and invited them for a dinner,” said Chouhan.

The players have been peacefully protesting at the national camp here by wearing black arm bands. The senior players in the team have pitched in with money to help their needy teammates. They have opened a bank account for the purpose.

Chouhan told the players that the state government would provide all facilities to them.

Chouhan said the “Madhya Pradesh government was only trying to rectify Hockey India’s mistake of not rewarding the national women’s team for their splendid performance in the Asia Cup”.

Chouhan also said that Obaidullah Khan gold cup hockey tournament would be played in Bhopal in March. It could be an international event in the near future. He announced a prize money of Rs.5 lakh for the winners of the tournament, while Rs.3 lakh and Rs.2 lakh would respectively go to the second and third placed teams.

Former hockey players Inamur Rehman, Jalaluddin Rizvi, Samir Daad, Mohammed Yusuf, Gauhar Nazib, Jafaruddin and Ajijuddin were also honoured on the occasion.

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