Unfair fairway splits Air Force wide open | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Unfair fairway splits Air Force wide open

The non-officer cadre of the Air Force is being kept off the greens. In violation of Indian Air Force guidelines, golf courses are not being opened to air warriors, reports Rahul Singh.

delhi Updated: Sep 09, 2008 23:41 IST
Rahul Singh

The non-officer cadre of the Air Force is being kept off the greens. In violation of Indian Air Force (IAF) guidelines, golf courses are not being opened to air warriors (personnel below officer rank).

Guidelines issued in 2002, in possession of HT, don’t differentiate between officers and air warriors. The guidelines say that defence personnel, including ex-servicemen, can become members.

But in a U-turn, the IAF says the issue of permitting air warriors (serving and retired) to play golf is still “under deliberation”.

A Gurgaon-based air force unit has even changed guidelines to restrict membership. The unit, 54 Air Stores Park (ASP), has revised bylaws of the Air Force Sports Complex (AFSC) to restrict it to serving and retired officers.

When contacted, the IAF refused comments on the controversy.

Sergeant BS Yadav (retd), who became a member of the AFSC in 1999, said, “The officer class has shortchanged air warriors by making golf courses off limits. Ironically, air warriors represent the IAF in golf tournaments.”

Many air warriors are academically as qualified as officers. Yadav, for instance, holds an MBA and a law degree.

Even as Group Captain Anil Handa, commanding officer, 54 ASP, said air warriors were permitted to play golf, an AFSC communication states the issue is still under deliberation.

Said retired Sergeant Devendra Kataria, “The IAF’s golf courses have come up on air force land and not air force officers’ land.”

Brushing aside the charges, IAF officials said warriors could apply for playing rights on the basis of golfing ability. Yadav said, “Bunkum, they are not offering us playing rights. Anyway, why should we settle for playing rights which can be withdrawn anytime?”