More than 400 horses that offered rides to tourists are bearing the brunt of starvation in the beautiful hills of Matheran owing to the lockdown announced in the state. The state government of Maharashtra recently announced stringent curbs because of the ballooning cases of coronavirus.
With the tourism industry coming to a standstill in the hill station, the owners of horses say that the animals are on the verge of starvation and have requested the government of Maharashtra to offer financial assistance amid times of uncertainty.
Matheran has about 235 owners possessing 460 horses which were used to transport tourists and generated significant income. The owners say that ever since the imposition of the lockdown, they are facing hardships in offering food to horses due to loss of income.
As per an owner, the second lockdown has significantly affected their income and they can't even afford essential food for their horses. The average daily expenditure for a horse's diet is Rs 250 since the animals require a healthy meal including wheat, gram, carrots and apples.
Another owner of horses in the hill state stated that he is anxious about the curbs being extended and the decision, according to him, will ruin the lives of not just the horses but also of their families. The owner added that he expects immediate help from the administration.
Nestled in the Western Ghats, Matheran boasts of a host of scenic places and is a popular destination for tourists from across the globe.
The owners claim that the financial aid will help the horses survive in this difficult situation as they would be able to arrange for at least basic food for them. One owner has also requested Aditi Tatkare, the guardian minister of Raigad District, to offer financial aid of Rs 1500 to every horse owner in Matheran similar to the announcement made by the chief minister of the state, Uddhav Thackeray for drivers of autorickshaw.