Horse handler and driver Vicky Gupta who has shifted to Delhi since the ban was imposed on Victorias.
Mumbai: Three years after the Bombay high court banned the Victoria-horse carriages in April 2015, under the Bombay Conveyance Act as a means of transport or for joy rides, Victoria drivers, owners and horse handlers are still awaiting the compensation they were promised after losing their source of income. While some have taken up odd jobs to subsist themselves, one of them has begun earning a livelihood as an auto-rickshaw driver in Delhi, others have had to find alternate sources of income.
The affected persons say that apart from the financial compensation, they are also awaiting the vendor’s license that the HC had suggested should be given to the affected persons so that they may continue their livelihood.
According to Muttu Swami, who has spent all his life working and driving a Victoria said it has become difficult to make ends meet and he has to do odd jobs to earn his daily bread. “There is absolutely nothing that we can do except do manual labour as we either tended horses or rode the Victoria all our life. Now, after the ban we had to give up the horses too hence there is no other way of earning an income,” said Swami. He added that while the option of giving joy rides was tempting, the fact that it is illegal has stopped him from taking that route.
Another horse handler and driver Vicky Gupta who has shifted to Delhi since the ban was imposed on Victorias said, “I am left with nothing to do but drive a rickshaw here. After the ban, we were almost flung out on the roads and making ends meet was next to impossible. Some relatives told me to move to Delhi and try my luck there. I ended up driving a rickshaw. I am awaiting the compensation but I am told that no one connected to the Victorias has been compensated yet.”
Confirming that the compensation has not yet been received by anyone, advocate AV Chatuphale said, “The review petition filed by the Victoria owners and drivers had been aimed at getting the high court to see the plight of the affected persons and allow some means of livelihood. However, the court had held that the government would do the needful and had not allowed a review of the ban. Today, most of the affected persons are either whiling away their time or have taken up minor jobs.”