Pistol shooter Rahi Sarnobat has requested the Civil Aviation Ministry to rethink on its recent decision that allows airlines to charge an extra amount for ferrying sports equipment carried by athletes as their baggage.
In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Rahi — who recently created history by becoming the country’s first pistol markswoman to clinch a gold in World Cup shooting — and two other top Maharashtra shooters, Anjali Bhagwat and Tejaswini Savant, have asked the ministry to reconsider its decision.
They felt sportspersons would be adversely affected by this decision as they would have to pay much more than their actual fare.
The shooting trio, as well as officials of the Maharashtra Olympic Association, wanted the permission granted to airlines for levying extra charges towards ferrying sports equipment to be withdrawn immediately, a media release said on Thursday.
Their contention is that athletes do not travel by air just for pleasure but to manage their training camp and competition schedules.
The letter stated that consequent to this decision by the Aviation ministry a lot of athletes would be inclined towards travelling by train even if this meant an additional effort, wastage of time and energy.
“Due to official permission by the government, we fear that the airlines may levy additional charge on the accompanying sports goods at will and is going to adversely affect the Indian sports in general,” the letter stated.
“Hence it is requested to withdraw this particular permission to levy additional charge on sports equipment to athletes and allow them to carry such equipment within the charges of their own fare,” it said.
Copies of their appeal have been sent to Union ministers hailing from Maharashtra — Sharad Pawar, Sushil Kumar Shinde, and Praful Patel — apart from former Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, MOA president Ajit Pawar and all the MPs from Maharashtra, the release added.