Without bullock cart race, Kila Raipur games see 20% drop in footfall
On Friday, the first day of the 2018 edition, organisers claimed a drop in turnout of 20% over the last year.Updated: Feb 03, 2018 10:00 IST
No bullock cart racing and no horse shows. Subtract these two events from Kila Raipur games — branded as the Rural Olympics of Punjab — and you have a recipe for a low turnout and heartburn for organisers. On Friday, the first day of the 2018 edition, organisers claimed a drop in turnout of 20% over the last year.
Jagbir Singh Grewal, senior adviser of Grewal Sports Association, the organisers of the game, said, “There is 20% fall in footfall, but it was a working day. The number of visitors will increase tomorrow as we have events from Rajasthan. Olympian Alexi Grewal, a former professional racing cyclist, will also be here.”
While the bullock carts were banned in 2014 following a Supreme Court ruling, the spread of glanders disease has led to Punjab’s animal husbandry department order a ban on holding the horse show this year. The glanders disease can be passed on to humans from horses and can prove fatal.
A round of the venue by this HT reporter about 4pm on Friday revealed a bunch of Kila Raipur residents sitting underneath trees and gossiping, but not in the audience stands.
When questioned, a resident Krishan Singh said, “With no bullock cart race and horse events, these rural olympics have lost sheen. There is very little to be excited about.”
In the sparse crowd, an Australian Ashlei and two women from Pune, Manjiri and Supriya, claimed to be visiting the event for the first time. They were miffed at the non-scheduling of these high-octane, action-packed events and expressed their disappointment.
“The event calendar on the website of the three-day games brands them using bullock cart and horse cart races. It is a shock for us to now see that these events are not on.”
Organisers already pin hope on next year
Seeing the lukewarm response, organisers claimed that the event will see the return of crowds from next year with chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, promising that the bullock cart racing will return. Chief guest, local MLA Kuldeep Singh Vaid, also claimed that the event will return next year.