Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], July 28 (ANI): Harsh weather conditions has led to the deplorable condition of horses in historic Ridge maidan of hill town of Shimla. According to horse owners here, horses are facing troubles due to adverse weather conditions leaving them drenched in the region. The owners have demanded proper shelters for them from the state government.
Notably, the Ridge is the hub of all cultural activities in Shimla. It is situated along Mall Road, which is the famous shopping centre of Shimla. And this touristy place is famous for horse riding.
The horse owners here are completely dependent on the horses for the survival of their families. A few horse owners allege that the Shimla Municipal Corporation is not building shelters for them despite the orders from the High Court of Himachal Pradesh.
Shersingh, a horse owner, said, "As COVID-19 restrictions eased, the frequency of tourist arrival is also increasing and the number of hotel bookings are on a rise. Several tourists opt to ride on horses here to travel from one place to another. However, in order to earn their daily bread, the horsemen here are finding it difficult to meet the demands of the tourists as they are unable to maintain their horses properly."
"This is primarily because of lack of proper shelters for the horses. I, on behalf of the horsemen here, demand that the government looks into the matter," he said.
Gulamdeen, President of the Horsemen Association in Shimla, said to ANI, "The Shimla Municipal Corporation is planning to build Shimla as a smart city. However, I feel this plan has certain loopholes. The Commissioner of Shimla Municipal Corporation said that a genuine fee is charged from the horsemen on an annual basis which amounts to nearly 50 rupees a month."
"The Commissioner also said that they don't have any record or information available for any record of Court directions (for charging this fee)," he added.
Commissioner of Shimla Municipal Corporation, Ashish Kohli however did not comment on these allegations and said, "People looking after horses in Shimla demand shelter for horses as they lie drenched in the open amid the rains. We will look into the matter."
Jaskaran Singh, a tourist from Punjab said, "The tourists here enjoy horse riding on the Ridge and hope that these horses and horsemen to get protected."
Amrit Pal Singh, another tourist said, "The horses were used as means of transport during the British era for the British officials and their families. It included the horse carts. The horse rides at the Ridge here have been a source of attraction and now post independence, it is attracting tourists and are considered as the glory of the city."
"Shimla is considered as an entry point to the Himalayan state for tourists. Crores of rupees are generated in the state of Himachal Pradesh in the tourism sector and it is considered a backbone for the economy in the state," he said. (ANI)