You can get a hand gun in Kolkata with less than the price of a branded T-shirt

Ravik Bhattacharya, Kolkata: Want a handgun? You can get one in Kolkata for anything between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500, less than the price of a

branded T-shirt, and a couple of hundred rupees for bullets. Thanks to the migration of skilled gun makers from Bihar who are helping illegal arms factories mushroom in the state.
All it takes is a lathe machine, a small room and skilled hands to set up a factory and produce handguns; be it single-shot pistol or pipe gun in local parlance or more sophisticated 9 mm and 7 mm pistols. With production booming, the prices have dropped sharply.
HT contacted dealers and makers on Wednesday shortly after police busted one of these factories on the fringes of Kolkata and seized over a hundred handguns, explosives and ammunition. Five people were arrested, including three who came from Bihar to make the guns.
“You can buy a single shot pistol for Rs 1,000. The local supply chain is good since so many factories have come up and prices are low. The quality of these guns may not be comparable to imported sophisticated firearms but they get the job done. However you need to go through a good channel to buy one. We don’t sell to unknown people,” said Ratan Roy (name changed), a supplier from Howrah who is well known in the illegal weapons trade. “If one buys in bulk, as politicians and gangsters often do here, we always offer discounts,” said Ratan.
Read:Illegal firearm factory busted in South 24 Parganas, more than 100 guns seized
The most popular are the 7 mm pistols, apart from the 9 mm pistols and the .303 mm single-shot guns. Crude single-shot pistols cost around Rs 1000 to Rs 1500, but the good ones are priced around Rs 3000 to Rs 4000.

For 7 mm handguns sell for Rs 20000 to 35000. For 9 mm handguns the price is around Rs 30000 to Rs 50,000 a piece. The comparatively small and easy-to-handle 7 mm guns have become quite popular.
There is a network of dealers, sub-dealers and sellers connected to factory owners who reach out to gangsters, middlemen, petty criminals, politicians and even individuals with no criminal record as such.
According to illegal handgun makers and suppliers, in the past four years skilled hands from neighboring Bihar have made a beeline for Bengal. Bihar is known for its illegal gun industry, especially Munger, Siwan and surrounding areas.“In the past few years, skilled gun makers, who are better known as ‘masters,’ are being brought from Bihar and employed on contract. Not only from Munger, which you people made popular, but from other areas as well. They are employed for a period of three to nine months or even a year and given anything between Rs 30,000 to Rs 2 lakh depending on the quantity and quality of the guns to be made and time spent, ” said Sheikh Aslam (name changed), a notorious gun supplier from South 24-Parganas.
“There is a lot of pressure from the police in Bihar these days and people with long criminal records find it convenient to work in Bengal. Some have even opened their own factories here,” said Md Sadiq (name changed), a gun maker from South 24-Parganas.According to sources, raw materials such as steel and springs are easily available in the market and are provided by the owner along with a room and a lathe machine. The owner bears all the risk and the gun maker is told how many guns are to be made. After the contract period is over, the maker leaves for home.
Some expert gun makers, however, stay back in Bengal for long periods and are given jobs to finish.
These factories have mushroomed in Malda, Murshidabad, Howrah and North and South 24-Parganas, apart from other districts.

Posted by on September 8, 2016. Filed under State. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.