Maharashtra mulls hawking, driving licences for Victoria owners | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra mulls hawking, driving licences for Victoria owners

To phase out Victoria horse-drawn carriages as per a court mandate, the Maharashtra government plans to offer hawking and driving (autorickshaw and taxi) licences to half the owners and drivers

mumbai Updated: Oct 25, 2016 12:17 IST
Manasi Phadke
Mumbai
To phase out the horse-drawn carriages, the government plans to offer hawking and driving licences to half the owners and drivers.

In a bid to phase out Victoria horse-drawn carriages as per a court mandate, the Maharashtra government plans to offer hawking and driving (autorickshaw and taxi) licences to half the owners and drivers.

The government claims there are 130 drivers and 91 owners of Victoria horse carriages. Some are owners as well as drivers. While 25 owners and drivers will get hawkers’ licences, 34 will get drivers’ licences, said a senior state government official said.

The proposal is likely to be placed before the cabinet for discussion soon. “We will have to come up with an alternative arrangement for the rest,” the government official said.

The state government is also drawing up a list of non-government organisations and animal welfare groups ready to take care of the freed horses.

In June last year, the Bombay high court (HC) had ordered a complete ban on Mumbai’s iconic Victoria horse-drawn carriages, calling the joy-rides completely illegal, ordering them to be phased out in a year. The court observed that most of the horse-drawn carriages were plying illegally as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had taken a policy decision of not granting them licences after 2013.

The court noted the Victorias did not qualify as “public conveyance” under the Bombay Public Conveyance Act 1920, and were only meant for joyrides and directed the state to devise a rehabilitation plan for the 700-odd families dependent on the business.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court allowed horse-drawn carriages to ply for six more months, asking the state to come up with a rehabilitation plan for the horses and the families by then. The six-month reprieve ends in October.