Indu Palani, 48, owns eight horses and has been plying a Victoria for over 20 years in the city.
But with the ban of horse carriages looming, he stares at an uncertain fate.
“Why does the government want to take away our livelihood which we have been doing for decades,” said a distressed Palani.
She is among the around 50 horse owners whose fate is hanging in a limbo after an NGO moved the Bombay high court, seeking a ban on the Victoria carriages as they cause cruelty to animals.
The traffic police has also supported the NGO and sought a ban saying that it obstructs free traffic flow in the island city.
Palani has now started another business – a trampoline for children --- but is scared for her original business on which there are several families dependent. “I have 10 persons employed to run the business, most of them are under educated or not educated and their only source of income is plying horses. If this business shuts, then they may deviate to anti-social activities,” she told dna.
A Victoria on weekdays earns around Rs2,500 a day while on weekends it can go up to Rs4,000.
The cost of maintaining the horse is Rs300 to Rs400 a day, the rest is divided between the horse rider and the owner.
“We treat the horses like our children. I hope the authorities and the government takes a humanitarian view towards us,” Palani said.
End of joyride?
Victoria joyrides have been part of Mumbai’s identity for decades. Many Bollywood films too have featured the carriages
A public interest litigation filed by the Animals and Birds Charitable Trust alleged cruelty to horses pulling the Victoria carts and the bad conditions of the stables
It sought for a ban of horse carriages in 2011.