The Nehru Trophy Boat race is scheduled to be held on August 12. With the much-anticipated event going back to its traditional date (the second Saturday of August), fans received the news with cheer.
However, the boat clubs are not enthused. Reason: The dates and fixtures of the Champion's Boat League (CBL), a series of boat races organised in the IPL model by the state tourism department, have not been announced yet. Unlike the past two years, authorities haven't even held a meeting to discuss the same, boat clubs allege. Generally, the event is held on the next Saturday after the Nehru Trophy race.
Midhun K of Kumarakom Boat Club, who is also the state vice-president of the Boat Clubs Association, says, “Nehru Trophy is treated as the eligibility round for CBL. This year, the authorities were adamant to hold the race on August 12. However, the CBL committee's stance is that the league will be held only in September. If schedules do not change, clubs will incur huge expenses.”
According to him, teams spend up to Rs 50 lakh to prepare the team for the Nehru Trophy. “If CBL is held the very next week, we can manage the finances. if not, it will be tough. We deploy professional rowers from Haryana, Mumbai and Kashmir. Around Rs 20 lakh is spent on them. We have to pay Rs 2,500 as their fee per day.”
Apparently, in previous years, the clubs were invited to attend meetings related to the event. “Nothing of the sort has happened yet,” says Midhun.
Jayaprasad V of Pallathuruthy Boat Club says the delay in holding CBL would spell trouble for clubs. “We were told that the CBL committee meeting would be held soon. So far, they haven't informed us about any plans.”
'Committee to meet next week'
Alappuzha MLA P P Chitharanjan told Onmanorama that the meeting of the CBL committee will be held next week. “I'm not sure whether a decision on scheduling CBL the week after Nehru Trophy will be taken at that meeting. The committee will take such decisions,” he said.
But clubs warn that if there is a delay in the holding CBL, they might stay away from the tournament rather than shoulder the huge expenses.
No funds yet
The boat clubs say authorities are yet to hand over the funds for the conduct of the event and have only made the announcements in this regard.
Teams that finished in the first nine positions during the last edition of CBL will compete this year in races to be held in Alappuzha and Kollam, among other places.