Chandigarh, February 17: The Punjab Cabinet led by Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday paved the way for the revival of the traditional annual bullock cart races at the Kila Raipur Rural Sports.
The Cabinet gave the green signal to present the ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2019’ in the current Budget Session of Vidhan Sabha for enactment.
The bullock cart races had been an integral part of the state’s rich cultural legacy and heritage, till they were prohibited by the Supreme Court in 2014. Subsequently, various representations were received from time to time by the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Animal Husbandry Minister to allow bullock cart races. The State Cabinet, in its meeting on October last year, had detailed deliberations and favoured in law to legally allow Kila Raipur sports, in which various animals also participate.
Notably, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (Central Act 59 of 1960) was enacted to prevent the infliction of unnecessary cruelty and suffering on animals. The Act also recognises the need to exempt the application of its provisions in certain circumstances.
The state government has decided to exempt the conduct of Bullock-Cart Racing in Kila Raipur Rural Sports event from the provisions of the said Central Act 59 of 1960, in view of the significant role played by the traditional rural sporting event and fair, which has been taking place at Kila Raipur (Ludhiana) since the 1930s, in promoting the spirit of games and sports. The government feels the sport also enriches the cultural heritage and tradition of Punjab, while being a great source of entertainment, especially for rural Punjab.
It is in this background that the state government has decided to amend the Central Act 59 of 1960 in its application to the State of Punjab for the resumption of bullock cart races during the annual Kila Raipur rural sports.