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In Chambal, planting a tree compulsory for arms licence

Last Updated : 01 June 2019, 15:37 IST

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Show a selfie with a month-old sapling and get arms licence. This is the Gwalior collector’s unique device to instill love for environment among gun-loving people of the Chambal region.

Gwalior collector Anurag Choudhary says he has devised this environment-friendly condition to give a message to people to be serious about tree plantation.

Issuance of arms licence is a routine administrative exercise which normally does not take a long time. But owing to the assembly and Lok Sabha elections in succession with a gap of just five months, pending applications for arms licence have multiplied.

While reviewing the applications, the collector thought that introducing tree plantation in the licence issuance process is a good idea for environment conservation.

In the guideline issued, the collector has asked lower revenue personnel, the Patwaris, to verify the applicant's claim about plantation before issuing licence. The collector has called a 'green meeting' on June 3.

Flourishing gun culture

The number of arms licences issued in three districts of the region— Gwalior, Bhind and Morena— far outstrips the total number of licences issued in remaining 49 districts of Madhya Pradesh. Over 80,000 gun licences have been issued in the region and hundreds of applicants are awaiting their turn.

There are 480 applications for 12 bore and .315 bore guns and 210 for pistols. The total number of valid licenced arms in Gwalior district is 29,800.

The Chambal ravines have a gun culture that dates back generations and firearms are very often prized heirlooms. Twirling moustache and carrying gun remains most visible status symbol in the region which, till two decades ago, was widely infamous for trigger-happy dacoits roaming its treacherous ravines.

But guns are not only related to pride or show of strength, they are a source of livelihood. Men who fail to get jobs find easy employment as security guards. And guards with guns get paid more. On an average, there are 1,000-1,400 guns in every police station in the region, according to police sources.

Come elections, the police in Chambal have big headache stashing thousands of licenced guns after the model code of conduct kicks in. When all these arms end up as stockpile at police stations, it’s a worry for the cops.

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Published 01 June 2019, 15:25 IST

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