The sports ministry on Saturday served Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation an ultimatum that they either merge into a unified national body in two days or face stern action.
The government took the decision after a meeting of the sports minister Ajay Maken with office-bearers of both HI and IHF to work out an amicable solution to the long-standing feud between the two bodies over recognition and power-sharing.
"We have given a balanced proposal to HI and IHF with equal importance to both the federations. We have given them time till Tuesday evening to send their response in writing. We have told them to give us a joint response instead of separate ones," Maken told reporters after the meeting in New Delhi.
"If they don't agree we will take action and also inform the Supreme Court as the matter is sub-judice," he said.
The government's warning could be seen as an infringement on the autonomy of NSFs but Maken said if forced his ministry will have to take action in the larger interest of the game.
"We are not taking side. The government action would be in the larger interest of the game and in the larger interest of the country," he insisted.
In its proposal, the ministry has asked HI to increase its executive board strength and include all the current IHF office bearers in it.
The ministry has also asked HI to make former IHF president K P S Gill as the life-time chief patron with voting rights and said post-settlement HI will assume the status of the sole NSF for hockey in the country.
"In today's meeting we have proposed to almost double the strength of HI executive board from 17 to 33 with equal voting rights in order to provide for co-option of 16 members of IHF. The reason to give power to HI is because the International Hockey Federation (FIH) recognises it," the sports minister said.