In Chambal, the gun rules. And that’s what Shivpuri Collector Manish Shrivastava is using to take a shot at stabilising the population. He has introduced a novel concept — undergo a vasectomy operation, take home a gun licence.
The Collector appears to have hit bull’s eye. “We introduced the gun licence as incentive for male sterilisation three months ago and the results are very encouraging. In the past, the number of vasectomy operations would not cross double digits in a year, but in the last three months alone 150 people have undergone the sterilisation surgery,” Shirvastava told HT.
Family planning camps are being held more frequently now. The last two-day camp in the district started on March 27 where 37 people came for vasectomy; 23 of them have applied for gun licences, say official records. “Last year, there were only eight cases of vasectomy and a year before, only one,” said Shrivastava.
“Since people in this dacoit-infested district also have a penchant for guns, I thought of providing them a bigger symbol of masculinity (a gun) and told them to come forward for vasectomy,” he said.
This scheme has obviously worked better than the Rs 1,100 given to a man undergoing vasectomy and Rs 200 to the person who motivated him.
The Collector, however, said that getting the licences would depend on clearance from the police department as well as a recommendation from the sub-divisional magistrate, as before. “The offer doesn’t mean that people with criminal backgrounds can walk in, have a vasectomy done and walk away with a gun licence.”
The district of 1.4 million people has 11,000 licensed arms. Residents say that they want more because bandits have a large number of unlicensed weapons. “I never bothered to apply for a licence before because I knew it was not so easy to get,” said Shivpuri resident K.K. Saxena, 55, who recently underwent vasectomy. “But when I heard about this, I decided to apply.” Saxena was provided with a medical slip confirming his sterilisation to attach to his gun application.