Mangaluru, Oct 2,2017: As it gears up to hold kambala, the traditional buffalo slush track race, during the 2017-18 season, the District Kambala Samiti has plans to cover kambala runners under a group insurance scheme.
“The idea of insurance cover is to offer some succour to racers if they get injured and have to undergo compulsory rest,” forum president Barkuru Shantharam Shetty told The Hindu.
The insurance cover will be available to racers who are members of the forum. As of now, 45 of the 75 racers are members, he said.
The forum will arrange for the payment of premium for the group insurance cover. Bringing other people involved in the organisation of kambala under insurance cover is planned in the next stage, Mr. Shetty added.
The forum, which comprises kambala organisers from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasaragod districts, held a meeting at Moodbidri near here on Monday and chalked out the 2017-18 kambala calendar. Mr. Shetty said kambala organisers would strictly ensure no violence is inflicted on buffaloes.
Runners would be strictly asked not to hurt the animals while adequate fodder and drinking water arrangements would be made at the race venue, he said.
He added that the organisers would capture the event on video and submit the footage to the Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner, according to the State government’s direction.
The 2017-18 kambala season will start at Moodbidri on November 11. Races will subsequently be held in various places on Saturdays or Sundays, with the season culminating at Talapady on March 18.
To ban or not
It all started in November 2014 with the Animal Welfare Board of India directing the deputy commissioners of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi to ban kambala on the grounds of cruelty to animals.
On December 16, 2014, the High Court of Karnataka stayed the ban and asked the authorities to record the race to verify the claim of cruelty.
In November 2016, a Division Bench of the High Court banned the event on a public interest writ petition filed by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Following uproar over the ban in coastal Karnataka, where people said kambala was part and parcel of their life and culture, the State legislature passed a Bill exempting kambala from the purview of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
The then President Pranab Mukherjee gave assent to the ordinance in July to give effect to the Bill.
Courtesy: The Hindu