Victoria carriages should be banned in city, cops tell HC

The Mumbai traffic police filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court Tuesday proposing that licences of Victoria carriages in the city should not be renewed.

"Horse carriages are a hazard to people as well as animals. These carriages also lead to traffic congestion. Also, many stables do not maintain standards required as per the law. It is the view of this department that horse carriages should be prohibited in Mumbai completely," the affidavit stated.

According to the affidavit filed by Dilip Vishnu Raut, inspector (in charge at Public Land Conveyance Licence Branch), Traffic, "As of now, renewing of licences and plying of Victorias is being regulated under the provisions of Bombay Public Conveyance Act, 1920. Although horse carriages were granted licences under this Act and were subsequently renewed under the same Act by the traffic department, it is now clear that the horse carriages are no longer used as a mode of public conveyance and are used only for joyrides... These horse carriages are no longer being used for the purpose for which they were granted the licence under the Act."

Since 1973, no licences have been issued for Victoria carriages except for renewals in favour of licence holders or to the heirs of licence holders after their demise, the affidavit stated. The operation of these carriages is restricted to a few areas. Also, there are specific timings during which these carriages can ply.

"The traffic situation has undergone a radical change with the number of vehicles in Mumbai going up by 203 per cent between 1991 and 2011. The use of horse-drawn carriages now is a hazard on the overcrowded roads of Mumbai," the affidavit stated.

"They are prone to accidents, as the horses are unable to manoeuvre themselves in traffic efficiently or even stop and start at the pace of traffic. Horses get scared due to honking and movement of vehicles and tend to go berserk. To control them, carriage drivers resort to whipping," it added.

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