Owners seek relief from court

Owners seek relief from court

Ten aggrieved horse owners have filed a writ petition in the High Court, stating that the failure of the State Government to grant licence to the Bangalore Turf Club to conduct races has severely affected the livelihood of many.

Led by H S Chandre Gowda, whose FIR in April accusing two BTC officials of failing to perform their duties opened a Pandora's box, the petitioners said the Government had failed to explain the legitimate reasons for not renewing the licence to BTC to conduct races and betting.

The petitioners also requested the court to direct the State Government to grant licence to BTC at the earliest. The writ petition is to come up for hearing on Friday morning. "We filed the writ petition on Wednesday," Gowda told DH. "The winter season was scheduled to start on November 3 but BTC is yet to obtain licence from the State Government. Off-course betting too has not been held since September 1. We feel the government has not given a strong enough reason for not renewing the licence.

"This has caused a lot of hardship to a lot of people. Owners, trainers, syces and the daily wage workers are deeply affected. There are over 1000 horses at BTC. The implications of racing not being held is very serious. We hope the honorable High Court decides on the matter at the earliest."

Animal Welfare Board

Meanwhile, the Animal Welfare Board of India has written a letter to the BTC, expressing concerns over the safety and welfare of racehorses.

"It has come to our notice that 950 racehorses stabled at your premises are at risk of abandonment," said the letter --   dated Nov 14 -- addressed to Pradeep S Kulkarni, Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, BTC. "It is incumbent on the Club and the owners of the horses to ensure adequate food and shelter is provided for them."

The letter also demanded a reply from the BTC on measures taken to ensure the horses were looked after properly.

BTC chairman V Harimohan Naidu said it's owners and trainers'  duty  to look after their horses. "I have nothing to comment. It's the trainers' responsibility to look after the horses. The role of BTC is to give them a proper stabling area which we have done. So far no trainer has complained to us about lack of facilities in the stabling area."

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