indianshooting.com EXCLUSIVE: A certificate which should be given free to shooters is being sold for Rs. 300 by the federation whose survival depends on them.
A bundle of A4 sheets – the ones you use in your printers – costs no more than Rs 250/-. A pen which you routinely use comes for less than Rs 10 apiece. And, a rubber stamp can be made for as little as Rs 50/-.
But the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is charging a whopping Rs 300/- for a signed letter written on an A4 sheet certifying that the person in possession of that piece of paper is a bonafide shooter and that he or she should be allowed to book his/her gun on a flight.
The federation would probably have typed many such letters for shooters competing in the GV Mavlankar Championship, which got underway in Mumbai on September 14.
Shocking? Well it did shock most, if not all, shooters who went to the federation office to collect the letters, signed by its secretary Rajiv Bhatia, and were asked to dish out the sum then and there.
As if the shooters were yet to recover from the shocker, this was something which left them at their wits’ end – an 18% GST on Rs 300/-.
“Rs 300 for what?” a shooter, who is competing in the GV Mavlankar All India Shooting Championship told indianshooting.com. “I was in for a rude shock when I was asked to pay Rs300/- plus 18% GST. But I needed that letter, without which I wouldn’t have been able to board the flight with my equipment,” said the shooter.
The letter on the NRAI letterhead reads: “To whomsoever it may concern: This is to inform you that (name of shooter) is going to Mumbai to participate in the XXVII All India G.V. Mavalankar Shooting Championship in Rifle/Pistol events, Mumbai from 14th to 26th September 2017 and will be carrying the following weapons for his sport purposes (Caliber, Serial No. Manufacturer, Model).It is requested that the necessary assistance may please be provided to the shooter during his/her travel to Mumbai and back.”
G.V. Mavalankar, also called pre-national, is the most important domestic shooting competition after the National Championship and close to 3000 shooters compete in the event, and a majority of them travel by air with their guns.
Multiply the number of shooters travelling with Rs 300/- per competitor and you get a figure which will blow your mind, not to forget the GST, which probably would go to the government.
As another shooter told indianshooting.com: “Has this letter been written with some special ink or is the letter gold embroidered that we are paying Rs 300/- with 18% GST. This reminds me of unscrupulous doctors who charge Rs 200-300 to make a fake medical certificate,” said the shooter.
Shooting sport is on the rise ever since Rajyavardhan Rathore shot down an Olympic silver medal at Athens in 2004. The ex-army man is now heading the country’s sports but he is probably oblivious to the goings on in the federation and how they are fleecing the shooters.
The airlines charge Rs 5000/- to transport a gun one way but give exemption to sportspersons travelling for a shooting competition, provided the shooter can produce a “Shooter ID” and a letter from the shooting federation.
The shooters, who participate in national-level competitions, are already registered with the national body after paying their required fee. Besides, they also pay match fee to participate in competitions.
The shooters competing in Mumbai have already paid an entry fee between Rs 390/- and Rs 585/- per match, depending upon their choice of events.
With around 2700-3000 shooters competing in Mumbai in order to qualify for the National Championship in December, the federation would do well to stop behaving like private practitioners, and work to make life easier for shooters, on whom their existence depends.