On Friday, GSF, Cossipore, senior general manager Dr Rajib Chakraborty told this newspaper
Kolkata: In what has come as a major boost to state-run defence production Ashani Mark (Mk) II, the 0.32 calibre pistol manufactured by Gun & Shell Factory (GSF), Cossipore for civilian purpose including women safety, has attracted some foreign countries as probable buyers within seven months of its launch.
Inspired by the overseas interests, the Ordnance Factory Board establishment of the defence ministry has filed the bids also to get export orders. The development, however, comes at a time when lack of issuance of firearm licences allegedly by the state government has created a bottleneck for gun sale in the domestic market.
On Friday, GSF, Cossipore, senior general manager Dr Rajib Chakraborty told this newspaper, “Ashani MK II was a new launch after so many years. It has caught the attention of some foreign countries. In fact, we have received some queries from West Asian Countries. We are hopeful that we will get orders.”
He elaborated, “Basically the market is very positive about this pistol. I do not want to name those countries immediately. But there are good number of countries approaching us. We have given the quotations also. Hopefully we will get the orders. That day will be a red letter day not only for the GSF, Cossipore but also for the entire country.” Dr Chakraborty reasoned, “The only thing is that the state government is not coming forward to issue the licences. Unless the licences are issued to the individuals, nothing can happen because the entire issue depends on the licencing. Licencing is not in our hand. It is a state subject.”
He explained, “So it is the district police authorities, the district magistrates or the commissioner of police are those who issue the licences. Based on the licences the individuals can purchase this pistol.”
Since its launch in December last year, the GSF, Cossipore has sold around 5000 pieces of Ashani Mk II, according to sources.
Dr Chakraborty was speaking after inaugurating a new two-storeyed museum at GSF, Cossipore where many cannons, weaponry and documents from the pre-British era have been showcased to create awareness about the country’s defence production capacity. The museum will be open for the visitors in between 10 am and 5 pm on weekdays.