Sports Council dragged to court for not paying tracksuit supplier

Sports Council dragged to HC for not paying tracksuit supplier
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Malappuram: The cash-strapped Kerala State Sports Council (KSSC) has run into further trouble after a private firm, which was given the contract to supply tracksuits to sportspersons in the state, approached the High Court alleging non-payment of bills.

The Perinthalmanna-based complainant said that the company had provided tracksuits to as many as 9,500 sportspersons undergoing training at various institutions run by the KSSC over the last financial year and the total bill amounted to Rs 79.32 lakh. Though the firm sought the clearance of pending bills ten months ago, the council failed to pay even a single penny, the petitioner alleged.

Meanwhile, government sources confirmed that the General Administration Department had already released the amount to the council.

Official tracksuits and jerseys are part of the kit provided to members of the Kerala team taking part in national-level events and inmates of sports hostels managed by the KSCC. Sportspersons attending the training programmes offered by the council also receive the same.

It was in March, 2019, that the council invited tenders for supply of tracksuits. The apparel manufacturing company from Malappuram bagged the contract after the product samples submitted by it conformed to quality requirements and technical specifications.

The petitioner said that the tracksuits were delivered to the council before December, 2019, in accordance with the contractual terms and conditions. However, the statutory body failed to make payments before the end of the fiscal as stated in the contract. Although the Finance Department had sanctioned and handed over the amount to the council after the proprietor of the company sent a complaint directly to the chief minister and the finance minister, no payment has been made yet, the complaint said. 

"The council has already received the fund from the government to pay the supplier of tracksuits. The bills will be settled soon. The payment was delayed due to the frequent transfer of secretaries which impeded clearance of bills and orders," said KSSC vice-president O K Vineesh.   

The council has already been in the midst of a similar controversy following its failure to clear food allowance dues of sports hostels. The state government provides an allowance of Rs 200 per day to each inmate of the 108 sports hostels, but bills running over Rs 3.5 crore are pending in payments since the past three months for canteen contractors. 

It was learnt that the trainers and coaches who are in charge of hostels had to borrow money from private lenders to feed the students.

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