Pinky Karmakar, a young woman from Assam’s Dibrugarh district represented India as the Olympic torchbearer at the London Olympics, 2012. 9 years later, she is helping her family make ends meet by being a daily wage labourer at a tea garden in her district.
The then 17-year-old Pinky was given a grand welcome in Assam when she returned home from the London Olympics.
Union minister and former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the then Dibrugarh MP, had received Pinky and welcomed her at the airport upon her return.
However, two Olympics later, 26-year-old Pinky is now working as a daily wage labourer at Borborooah tea garden in Dibrugarh district and earning Rs 167 per day.
After her mother’s death and father’s overage, Pinky has been taking care of her family and she has a younger brother and two younger sisters.
When she was 17-year-old and she was studying in Class 10, Pinky used to run UNICEF’s Sports for Development (S4D) program in her school and teach about 40 women and she was an ardent advocate of adult literacy in her locality.
She also often raised her voice against social evils like child marriage, alcoholism in her community.
‘Didn’t get any support from the government’
Pink said she had dreams of making it big when the opportunity to be India’ torchbearer at the London Olympics came her way when was in class 10.
“Presently I am working as a daily wage labourer at Borborooah tea garden. I am now doing my Bachelor of Arts course. I didn’t get anything from the government or any others. It hurts me a lot and it bothers me,” Pinky Karmakar said.
Pinky added she didn’t get any financial support from UNICEF or Olympic committee or the government so far.
“I heard that, they give some remuneration to the Olympic torch bearers on a daily basis, but I didn’t get anything. I have spent every day with sadness over last 9-10 years,” Pinky said.
She further said that, her family is facing an acute financial problem. Pinky’s mother was also a daily wage labourer at Borborooah tea estate.
Jun Karmakar, a local youth and a leader of All Assam Tea Student Association (AATSA), said that it was a proud moment for their community when Pinky Karmakar represented India in the torch relay in the 2012 London Olympics, but it is very unfortunate that she has been deprived of any support from the government.
“We thought that, the government will help her and the youth will come forward and show their interest in sporting activities after seeing Pinky, but it didn’t happen,” Jun Karmakar said.