The range, which hosted the trap and skeet event of the Games, is ravaged by extreme weather conditions and neglect and is left with decaying and crumbling structures and machinery.
Complaints regarding the dilapidated condition of the range, which has been lying abandoned for over a year, have fallen on deaf ears, so far.
Seeking immediate actions to save the facility, a public interest litigation had been moved in the High Court in 2015. Last month, the HC issued a directive to the Kerala Police Department to set up a shooting club at the academy.
While issuing the order, the bench took into account the suggestions made by former DGP Alexander Jacob that the facility could be protected by turning it into a shooting club. He had also recommended structural alteration of the range to enable police personnel and sportspersons to undergo training.
Considering the suggestions in the report, the HC instructed the authorities concerned to start work on the club with immediate effect and make membership schemes open to the general public as well.
As per the court order, the club’s functioning should be monitored and supervised by the Kerala Police Sports and Youth Welfare Society. Applications from the general public need to be approved by the intelligence wing and identity cards should be issued to all enrolled members, the court order further stated.
Following reports that the chief minister would visit the shooting range in the light of the court directive, the officials swung into action and cleaned the premises of the building, but nothing has been done to restore the facility or to protect the hi-tech machinery that are getting rusted.
Post-National Games, the expensive shooting equipment and gadgets have been kept in an underground shelter. The rainwater that seeped through damp patches on the ceiling of the bunker damaged as many as 51 electronic shooting gadgets and other related accessories worth Rs 3.5 crore. Though repair works were carried out once, it is to be seen whether these high-end machinery are usable. Moreover, cartridges and clay board targets worth Rs 30 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively also got damaged from exposure to water.
The three shooting fields and their premises are overrun with shrubs and thorny bushes. Total landscaping had been done when the facility was established ahead of the National Games in 2015, but it currently stands as a pale shadow of its past, run down and crying for attention. The electronic scoreboard has rusted out while the path leading to the shooting range has creepers and weeds all over it.
It is alleged that the authorities at the Police Academy are hell-bent on ruining the facility, which houses one of the best trap and skeet ranges in the country. They had earlier attempted to demolish two shooting fields citing security concerns if outsiders were allowed to practice at the center, but were forced to abandon the move following stiff protest from various quarters.