With just a year to go for the London Olympics, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has no ammunition for the shooters. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is also in a similar situation, and as a result, national camps are on hold.
The crisis is a result of the delay in procuring the import license for ammunition. Though the NRAI managed the license for pellets last week, it is yet to get one for other ammunitions.
Following objections, the NRAI's license was cancelled two years ago, and it stopped importing ammunition. Even during the Commonwealth Games, ammunition was imported under the license of the Organising Committee.
"We are facing acute shortage and if we don't get pellets by next week, we'll be forced to stop training," said an international shooter.This year, only one national camp has been held apart from a week-long camp in Hanover. Another fallout of the shortage is that continuous camps, like the ones held before the Commonwealth Games last year, have not been conducted.
"The lengthy camps were one of the reasons for the country's brilliant performance in the CWG. Top shooters have their ways of continuing their training, but what about the others in the national squad," asked a shooter.
"An international shooter is eligible to import only 15000 pellets in a year and, which lasts just 45 days of training. Except one or two state associations, no other unit has an import license. So, everyone is dependant on the NRAI for ammunition. We are facing a tough time and this is affecting training," said a state association official.
"In the current scenario, we have no option but to buy pellets at inflated prices. A few shooters bought ammo from an official of the Chhattisgarh state association, who charged them around Rs800 for a box, which normally costs around Rs500," said a Delhi-based shooter.
When contacted, Baljit Singh Sethi, advisor, NRAI, said, "We have got the import license and we will soon be importing the pellets."