PETA India and CAPE Foundation have come up with an eco-friendly alternative to horse-drawn carriages in the Maidan area — an e-carriage that is styled after London hackney coaches during Queen Victoria’s regime.
The environment-friendly vehicle was on display at a press conference on Thursday. E-carriages are already in operation in Mumbai under a revenue-sharing model. The company takes 70% and carriage drivers get 30% of the revenue. The e-carriages run on a 60-Watt brush motor and can travel 60km on a single charge.
The e-carriage is a battery-operated vehicle with a vintage design. The new vehicles will not only spare the horses but also offer horse-drawn carriage drivers an improved livelihood opportunity. PETA India will display the e-carriage in front of the south gate of the Victoria Memorial for public viewing on July 29.
Cape Foundation managing trustee Radhika Bose said the use of horse-drawn carriages in Kolkata had left several horses injured, diseased and malnourished and caused traffic accidents. “It’s really unbearable. These horses are often found severely injured, old and blind. Today’s event has been organised to show the common people that sustainable vehicles can replace horse-drawn carriages and the idea has already been adopted by other cities," Bose said.
Echoing the same sentiment, PETA India advocacy officer Samit Roy said, “These horses suffer from malnourishment, lameness and festering wounds. But now modern technology offers an alternative. We request the authorities to take initiatives and replace horse-drawn carriages with this attractive and sustainable option. We’re ready to provide a sanctuary for the horses.”
According to an assessment by both organisations, more than 100 of these horses are anaemic, malnourished and chronically starved. Some suffer from severe injuries, including fractures and others are forced to live in filthy, decrepit and encroached places in the city. There are several incidents of road accidents as well.
“We have already moved Calcutta High Court on the matter. By the time a judgment is passed, we want an enforcement committee for the injured horses,” Bose said.