Pushkar cattle fair wears deserted look after govt’s ban on entry of horses

The dismal response to the fair finds reasons in the ban imposed by the animal husbandry department on entry of horses at the fair

jaipur Updated: Oct 22, 2017 20:32 IST
Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan,Pushkar cattle fair,entry of horses
The deserted fair ground at Pushkar.(HT Photo)

At the end of second day of Pushkar cattle fair, which started on Friday, the fair ground wore a deserted look.

The dismal response to the fair finds reasons in the ban imposed by the animal husbandry department on entry of horses at the fair. “With the ban on entry of horses, the cattle fair is heading for a gloomy end,” said Shakti Pratap Singh Piproli, who is engaged in horse breeding business. “Last year over 7,000 horses had come to the fair,” he added.

The department imposed the ban after a horse allegedly died of glanders —a disease primarily affecting horses — in Patan village of the district in the first week of September.

According to the department sources, the decision to ban the horses at the fair was taken to prevent the spread of glanders, a highly contagious disease with no known cure for it. “Glanders spreads through Burkholderia Mallei bacteria, which can infect humans, dogs and cats through skin abrasions, via eyes or inhalation and is highly fatal,” said Dr Dinesh Kumar Rana, deputy director, Livestock Development, Ajmer. “Once infected, the mortality rate is 100 percent, as there is no known cure for the disease,” Rana added.

However, Piproli questioned the department’s wisdom for banning the horses at Pushkar fair. “What justification the department had for holding the horse show in Pushkar, which was held between September 14 and 15. Was there no fear of glanders then,” he asked. The same department is holding a horse fair at Sayla in Jalore district starting from October 21. “So, no fear of glanders in Jalore?” asked Piproli.

Hundreds of traders selling accessories for horses at the fair are also annoyed over the government’s decision. “If the ban is not lifted, we will lose thousands of rupees in business,” said a shop owner.

Meanwhile, talking to HT over phone, Surendra Singh Rajpurohit, whose horse had allegedly died of glanders in Patan village, refuted the claim of animal husbandry department. “My horse died eight months ago and not in September, as claimed by the department,” said Rajpurohit. He added that it was still not known to him if the horse died of glanders, as the department has not informed him till date.

The people engaged in horse trading blamed the government for inflicting blow to their livelihoods. “Pehle note-bandi aur ab ghora-bandi ne hamare vyapar ko barbad kar diya hai (earlier demonetisation and now the ban on entry of horses have ruined our business),” said Tej Singh Rathore, former sarpanch of Patan, who is in the horse business for last three decades.

The horse dealers are planning to file a case against the government. “Officials who have brought in such a stupid order should pay for our damages,” said Piproli. “We are consulting a good lawyer for this,” he added.

First Published: Oct 22, 2017 20:32 IST