Gagan Narang's Pune academy caught in government crossfire

Sports commissioner sends notice to academies to vacate Balewadi Sports Complex after minister promised a five-year extension!

Reported by: Soumitra Bose
Last updated on Friday, 01 February, 2013 20:34 IST
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About 80 shooters, 30 of them representing India at various international tournaments, may be firing in the dark if a government order ejects Gagan Narang’s academy, Gun For Glory, housed at Pune's Balewadi Sports Complex. A notice served on Friday wants the academy to vacate the premises by March 31.

Confirming the ejection notice, Pawan Singh, the Gun for Glory director, said the letter was signed by Deputy Director of the Maharashtra Sports department, Janak Tekale. Singh said the notice came at the behest of the sports Commissioner, Pankaj Kumar.

"It comes as a shock because the state government is fully aware that our academy caters to international shooters who win medals for India," Singh told in a telephonic chat from Pune on Friday evening.

When contacted, Narang, who is currently in his home town Hyderabad, expressed displeasure but refrained to comment saying it was an administrative issue and Gun For Glory will seek help from the "right people." Narang is a London Olympics bronze medallist and a Khel Ratna awardee.

One of the "right" people could be the Maharashtra sports minister, Padmakar Valvi. According to Singh, the minister had verbally agreed to extend the lease for another five years and it was only a matter of signing some legal documents.

"That is why this notice comes as a surprise. We don't know who is the boss, the minister or the sports commissioner? This is not the way to treat your sporting hero. There is something wrong. It is the problem with bureaucracy where the minister and his department are not on the same page," said Singh.

Narang's shooting academy is not the only one facing closure. A tennis school run by the state federation, a badminton school run by Nikhil Kanetkar and a table tennis centre also face similar dilemma. All contracts expired in April 2012 and were continuing on borrowed life.

Singh said Gun For Glory paid an annual rent of Rs 5 lakh 39 thousand to the sports department. "Ours is not a business venture. We run an academy where people come to train and win laurels for the country," said Singh, adding his academy has now been told to pay an additional 10% or quit Pune's most famous sports complex.

Story first published on: Friday, 01 February 2013 20:26 IST

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