In a bid to provide alternative source of livelihood to Victoria carriage owners, Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar put forth three suggestions, including one-time financial assistance to them.
The final call on these suggestions will be taken after a meeting with all the stakeholders.
In June last year, the Bombay High Court had ordered that the use of horse-drawn carriages in Mumbai, popularly known as Victorias, shall be completely stopped after a year. A city-based NGO had alleged cruelty to horses by using them for joyrides. The HC had granted further time to the state to comply with its earlier order banning the carriages.
The government later set up a cabinet sub-committee headed by Mungantiwar to discuss steps to rehabilitate the owners of ‘Victorias’.
Mungantiwar said that while it was necessary to rehabilitate the horses, it was also imperative that carriage owners are not robbed of their livelihood.
He suggested that the carriage owners could be given a hawkers’ licence, which will be issued after a survey as per the law, which would require around eight months.
“Another suggestion is that the owners be given Rs 2 lakh to each family as final settlement amount,” he said.
He also suggested that they could be given financial assistance to buy a cab to operate for taxi services like Ola/Uber after finalisation of the new law by the state government for online cab aggregators.
Mungantiwar said, “Horses can be purchased from the owners by NGO People for Animals (a petitioner in the case along with PETA) or any other NGO as well at market value or they can also be handed over to the Animal husbandry or state Tourism department.”