Wednesday, March 17, 2021

DGCA allows shooters to travel with guns even for training

Pune: In an unprecedented move, the Director General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday gave the shooting fraternity a shot in the arm by relaxing their rules for carrying guns during domestic travel.

As per the new guideline issued by the DGCA, shooters can take more than one licensed firearm and more than 50 rounds of cartridges while travelling to participate in a competition or training.

Earlier, shooters could carry more than one rifle and more than 50 rounds of cartridges only for competitions and not for trainings. Even that was allowed after obtaining permission from the DGCA in advance.

The decision came after Union Minister of Youth and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, spoke to the aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri regarding relaxing rules for shooters. "I welcome this extremely supportive and positive move by DGCA. The Indian shooters are doing very well and in an Olympic year this ease of travel will help them greatly and motivate them further," sports minister Rijiju told TOI.

London Games bronze medallist Gagan Narang, who has been travelling for training and competition purpose since past two decades, feels the move from DGCA and MYAS will help the shooters focus better on their performance.

"I feel this is a landmark decision by the aviation and the sports ministry. Having travelled for so many years as shooters and now when I see shooters from various academies travel to train from one place to another, I feel this decision will be a big relief to the fraternity. This looks like a small change, but actually it is a big decision which will impact the sport in a positive way. Since they won't need any prior approval from DGCA before travelling, even for training, it will save them from a lot of distraction ahead of important sessions," former world No. 1 Narang told TOI.

"We shooters have extensively planned training sessions and there a lot of things that need to go right for a calm and effective training. This will help us train and compete with peace of mind during our travels. A shooter's worst nightmare is transporting weapons through airports. Extensive checks and procedures are a norm that we have to get used to. This will save a lot of effort to put in our training," world record holder Narang added.

17/03/21 Tushar Dutt/Times of India

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