BENGALURU: For years, jockeys across the country have contributed 13.33% of their income to a welfare fund set up by Indian Jockeys Association (I HAVE).
Formed in 1971, JAI had primarily used the funds for medical insurance offered to registered jockeys and their families. But, over the past five months, the corpus has enabled JAI to help more than 200 jockeys who were in urgent need of financial assistance.
With the closure of racetracks across the country due to the pandemic, it was a struggle for the survival of many jockeys.
“It was a very difficult time for the jockeys with no income and only expenses. The licenses were revoked and when the jockeys were allowed to return to the course, although with a negative Covid-19 certificate, many were not allowed to return to the course. “didn’t have the money to get the test done. The running clubs didn’t show up to sponsor the tests. Fortunately, we had funds in the association and we were able to help those who needed it,” explained seasoned jockey PS Chouhan, the president of the JHA.
The association has more than 400 registered members. Half of them said they had enough to weather the crisis. The others received relief of Rs 10,000 per month.
“A lot of the jockeys said they could get by and some were overseas and didn’t need help. It’s hard to imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t had the supplies of cash, ”said the Pune-based jockey.
In addition to the monthly aid, JAI also provided a cash advance to members to also pay rent and tuition.
“In our field of work, it’s difficult to maintain social distancing, so jockeys are at risk at all times. So we wanted to take out Covid-19 insurance for our members, but we had to suspend our plans due to lack of funds, ”Chouhan said.
With the racetracks opening up to jockeys to exercise the horses, JAI was hoping they wouldn’t have to free up any help starting this month. But the situation turned out differently.
“The racing clubs offered little or no financial assistance to horse owners, who suffered heavy losses, and to trainers. Because of this, the jockeys returned to work, but most of them did not. are not being paid. So we had to extend the support. This month as well. But we don’t know how we are going to do next month because we lack the resources, “Chouhan said.
Seasoned Jockey YS Srinath, who is based in Mysuru, lamented the lack of support from various stakeholders in Mysore Running Club.
“The running community has suffered beyond imagination and there seems to be no relief for those in Mysuru. With the races canceled until the end of the season, there will be no action until at least “in November. That means nine months without a livelihood. I hope the authorities wake up to their miseries and offer some relief,” said the champion jockey.