Sunday, December 7, 2014

Team Dhunjibhoy to focus on Transparency at RWITC

Team Dhunjibhoy to focus on
Transparency at RWITC

·         To campaign against high betting tax that causes loss to exchequer
·         Sports and leisure beyond racing
·         Plan petting zoo, club house, school/college sports

MUMBAI, December 05, 2014: With ‘Mission Transparency’ as its plank, Team Dhunjibhoy has vowed to take a slew of measures to bring about transformation at the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), popularly known as the Mahalaxmi Race Course, and convert it into a world class facility.

Former RWITC Chairman Khushroo Dhunjibhoy, who has the sport of racing literally in his blood, leads the pack with commitment, passion and dedication to ensure that the Club runs sports and leisure activities beyond racing. Elections for the new managing committee will be held on December 16, 2014.

Lease renewal for the RWITC land will be of top priority for the Team Dhunjibhoy, which pledges to also focus on improving the revenues, infrastructure and the vexed betting tax issue.

Dhunjibhoy, who was the RWITC Chairman during 2013, also promised to take up his unfinished tasks like setting up the country’s first petting zoo at the Race Course and throw the ground open for school and college sports and other activities like scouts and guides camps and NCC training.

Effective April 2010, the Government of Maharashtra has increased the rate of Totalisators Betting Tax from the initial 10% to a burdening 20%. This has led to racing enthusiasts migrating to Bangalore for betting due to which Maharashtra is being deprived of its tax income. Team Dhunjibhoy plans to actively take this issue with the government to have the tax reduced to 8%

Among the other series of measures the team envisages are: A new air conditioned stand for members, with plush seating, better and exclusive access, suitable facilities with an improved view of the race course; the introduction of a guest room for visitors and guests of members and renovation of the existing structure near Hooves as a recreational centre with facilities like indoor sports and entertainment.

On the infrastructure front, the club interiors, the stands and the vast race course are a matter of pride for RWITC, and Team Dhunjibhoy takes it upon themselves to improve the existing infrastructure and to bring it at par with international race courses and clubs.

In addition, Team Dhunjibhoy also proposes to build a Club house, similar to the existent one in Pune. The license for the Club has been previously obtained but the plan was kept in cold storage for some strange reasons. Team Dhunjibhoy will work to get the license renewed and plan executed.

With a view to giving corporate touch to the club, Team Dhunjibhoy proposes the introduction of Banquet facilities with conference rooms, corporate lounges for the benefit of members and their guests

The Team has been monumental in innovations for higher involvement and profits for Owners at RWITC. With bets at the helm of racing, Team Dhunjibhoy was the first in the history of RWITC to raise the amount placed as stakes. This led to a sizeable increase in betting quantities, with an increase in number of participants.

Consequentially, the profits and benefits to RWITC have also multiplied, as well as the thrill of racing. To further assist the benefits to Owners at RWITC, Team Dhunjibhoy proposes the construction of the Owners’ Lounge in Pune.

An overview of the past six years, with the various teams in charge of RWITC shows the years that Team Dhunjibhoy took charge to be most profitable. Their ensemble of racing enthusiasts with the knowledge for financial management has led to impressive profits for RWITC. On the contrary, the Club made losses during the tenure of the rival team. This year alone the losses amounted to Rs 15 crore.

The syces and labour force at RWITC is integral to the smooth functioning of all aspects of racing but they are a neglected lot. To incentivise them, Team Dhunjibhoy proposes a ration store for their personal needs as well as a subsidised food outlet to serve as their canteen. In addition, the Team would like to build a dormitory and living quarters for them, making it convenient for our on-ground staff to work at RWITC.

“We propose that no elected members should act as stewards in the interest of fairness. Instead, we would like to introduce professional stewarding at RWITC, making it an equal ground for racing practises by hiring professional stewards to conduct stewarding and uphold fair racing,” the Team’s manifesto says.

Focusing on the Fair Racing Regulations, Team Dhunjibhoy proposes that all committee/stewards meetings be video recorded and shown on CCT to ensure transparency, fair governance and fair play. “We insist on televising all proceeding of all inquiries and committee meetings, a prerequisite to open and fair rulings and decision-making,” the Team says.

The Team also plans to reinforce the Whistle-blowers’ policy that allows anonymous reporting of malpractices in racing and betting using an exclusive helpline. The policy is existent only on paper and not being implemented. Given the scope for malpractice across avenues at the club, Team Dhunjibhoy deems it a necessity to implement this policy.

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