The Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) decision to drastically enhance the fee structure for using the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges’ facilities has hit the country’s shooters hard.
According to a recent circular, SAI has increased the monthly fee for using the 10m range from Rs. 100 to Rs. 2000. If the shooters want to practice at the 25m range, they will have to shell out Rs. 2000 more. A shooter who plans to train at all three ranges — 10m, 25m, 50m — will have to dish out Rs. 6000 per month. This fee structure is for ‘renowned shot’ or national-level shooters. But if you are a state-level shooter or a beginner, you’ll have to fork out more — Rs. 3000 per range per month.
The new structure, says a top SAI official, is to offset the huge cost of maintaining the ranges. SAI has been facing a financial crunch post the 2010 Commonwealth Games. All the five major stadia were renovated and keeping them in shape is draining SAI financially.
Besides enhancing the fee, SAI has also reduced the practice time to just two hours. If someone wants to train extra, an additional Rs. 1000 would be charged per month. “It is a big blow,” says a national-level pistol shooter who has been a regular at the ranges for the last two years.
Currently, over 100 shooters practice regularly in the 10m ranges. The new policy, says a rifle shooter gearing up for the national trials in Kerala, makes no sense. “It will discourage shooters,” he says.
He added, “SAI is the operational wing of the sports ministry and should have been more considerate while setting new rules. Shooters take breaks between sessions, which will not be accounted for henceforth. Such issues have been overlooked in the new policy.”
The Tughlakabad ranges are a favourite with shooters from states such as Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as they have modern facilities. Pune and Thiruvananthapuram too have good ranges with modern facilities and electronic targets but the Karni ranges are the most popular.
International medallists though have been spared the steep hike. They will have to pay a monthly fee of Rs. 500 for unlimited practice sessions, while the facilities come for free for Arjuna Awardees.
It is learnt that some shooters met the Karni ranges administrator SD Bakshi but the meeting “wasn’t fruitful”. When contacted, SAI secretary Hira Ballabh said, “The new fee structure is under review.”