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Grit shooter's lone ally in the battle against red tapism

other Updated: Dec 07, 2011 00:13 IST
Navneet Singh

Hariom Singh, one of the country's top rifle shooters, is spending sleepless nights. No, he isn't struggling for form, but is desperately trying to procure an import license that will help him import a weapon and prepare for the London Olympics.

Since his application for importing a gun is pending, Hariom is training at the national camp in Pune with an old weapon provided by his Army team.

Last chance, old gun
He will also compete with the same gun at the Asian Championship (at Qatar) in January, which could be his last chance to make the national team for the Olympics.

Despite his impressive profile - he shot 598/600 to win the Olympic quota place in the 50m prone event at the Munich World Championships last year, Hariom is running from pillar to post to get the necessary documents for importing a .22 rifle.

He had initiated the process in August but till now has been successful in only procuring an arms license and not the import license.

Inordinate delay
Baljit Singh Sethi, advisor to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), said the shooter should have got his license by now.

"If the details are furnished, it generally takes four weeks for the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to issue the license," he said.

But Hariom is waiting to hear from the DGFT. "In an event like .22 rifle, testing the ammunition is of utmost importance. Without a personal weapon the advantage is lost," he said.

Not easy at all
Procuring the arms license wasn't easy as well. At one point, officials in Agra, his home town, informed Hariom that he couldn't get the arms license. Things started to move after he approached senior officials.

"I was surprised that nobody recognised my achievements," said the 25-year-old shooter, who is based in Mhow.

Time is running out but the soldier in Hariom has made stand his ground. "I am not giving up," he said.