Coach prepares Budhia for long walk


Bhubaneswar : Orissa's boy marathon runner Budhia Singh is being trained by his coach for a 500 km walk despite a ban on his running by the state government.

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Budhia shot to fame last year for his ability to run long distances and is planning to embark on a long walk to Kolkata on June 6.

The Khurda district child welfare committee, a semi-judicial juvenile welfare body of the state, took notice of the plan after newspapers reported it. The committee summoned the boy's coach and adoptive father Biranchi Das Monday to appear before it on May 25.

The panel also served him and members of the Budhia Trust, which is organizing the event, a warning notice alleging that the committee will take action against them if they "misuse" the boy.

The five-member panel led by Rabisankar Mishra declared that it was illegal to make the five-year-old boy go on such a long walk for the purpose of gaining fame as it violates the child's basic rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.

"The boy will walk from June 6 to 16 and he will have to walk at least 50 km daily on foot to complete the journey. This is an act of subjecting the child to unnecessary suffering," Mishra told IANS.

"This event will not be cancelled. Budhia will walk as per schedule and we are preparing for it," Biranchi Das told IANS.

Heading towards a confrontation with the committee, he said, "Nobody can stop us. We are ready to face any consequences. Let them do whatever they want to do"

Das and his wife adopted Budhia after paying Rs.800 to his impoverished mother, who lives in a slum.

The boy became a celebrity last year after he earned a place in the Limca Book of World Records for his 60 km run between Puri and Bhubaneswar. Budhia runs 45 km twice a week and 20 km on other days.

"I am talking to legal counsel for further course of action on the notice and summon," Das said.

"The boy will walk only during morning to avoid the summer heat, while an ambulance, a team of doctors, a water tanker and a mobile toilet would follow him. The purpose of the walk is to create awareness among the youth about sports," he added.