Fate of Manipuri Pony: at least 4 died after consuming plastic or chemicals every year

Fate of Manipuri Pony: at least 4 died after consuming plastic or chemicals every year

Written By: / Articles / Monday, 18 April 2016 16:29

Laishram Ranbir
“Save Manipuri Pony, The Original Polo Pony” many sought and yet here a mother pony and her child are seen grazing among the garbage thrown at the roadside in the rain which is undeniably not green grass.
Every year, 4/5 polo tournaments used to held at Manipur at Mapal Kangjeibung with the participation of 20/30 polo clubs. During this time ponies are used in the game and after the tournaments, due to unavailability of enough grazing ground for the ponies, some owners had no choice but to let the ponies loose on the streets where they are forced to eat whatever they found, including plastics, which is the most dangerous substance for the ponies as it poison their bodies.
“As a Manipuri, it’s very unfortunate to see Manipuri ponies which are shrouded amidst cobwebs of myths and rituals of Manipur foraging in the city trash in deteriorating condition. No ponies will be on the street roaming around depending on the garbage if all the funded projects proposed by the state government are initiated but seeing the ponies among the garbage shows the recklessness of the state government”, said a pony lover.
Upcoming of modernization and urbanization, concrete building at the fields which was once a play ground for the children’s and grazing place for the ponies and other animals could be the big reason behind the current condition of Manipuri ponies.
It is known that few years back Manipur government had sanctioned some crore of rupees for a pony farm at Tingkhai Khunnou in Senapati district where five veterinarians and other workers are posted, however, the pony farm was as good as clogged down.
 ”I feel ashame to say that Manipur gave the world the game of Polo while the concern authority could not even provide enough food for the ponies. Many ponies have died on the street, due to starvation, it very much shows the recklessness of the Manipur government while they are busy fighting each other for empowerment in its name to affluent the state”, said Mema, an elderly woman who once rode on the back of Manipuri pony in her youth days.
Manipuri legend one says that Lord Marjing, the chieftain of the Chenglei tribe, introduced the game of Sagol Kangjei or Horse Hockey, widely regarded as the predecessor of Modern Day Polo.
Manipuri ponies that played a crucial role in Manipuri history now roam around the city unattended by the concern authority.
A family member of a once pony owner whose name don’t want to be mentioned said disappointingly that seeing ponies roaming around the city, surviving on the garbage, wounded and left unattended by the concern authority is very unfortunate for the pony lovers. Something would have been done for such ponies if my son was alive today.
The family member put up a query to the concern persons and authorities that where all the crores of rupees are gone which have been sanctioned for the pony project, pony policies, establishment of suitable grazing fields for the ponies.
Gathering the ponies by planting the best grass loved by them at Heingang Pony breeding farm will somehow avoid roaming around the city. Not only this, there are many areas where grasses loved by ponies still grows, surrounded by many water bodies which could be also be turned into grazing field for the ponies if it is developed properly by the concern department.
Many knows that Lamphelpat has enough grass for ponies and no need to provide their food and it has also been home to ponies since ancient times where they get the freedom to run and play.
Sadly, most of the ponies are now gone, driven almost to extinction by development in Imphal that has destroyed meadows and reclaimed lakes. Gigantic trucks have been dumping loads of mud into Lamphelpat. The Imphal campus of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) has also sprawl across this area where the other remained parts of Lamphelpat have been marked out for a range of unused government projects which only claim the land.
This force the ponies onto the streets, where they are often run over, or worse, choke to death on plastic waste swallowed while foraging in garbage dumps.
If we don’t save Lamphelpat, when there is a little chance, the remaining ponies will vanish as the Manipuri pony doesn’t have a powerful benefactor and the breed’s extinction seems imminent.
Many pony lovers, owners have taken up rally on the streets, even sought for help from the concern department but none been heard so far.
Many animals and ponies have been loitering around the IMC areas which are against the rule but the IMC failed to see their duty to avoid animals loitering and roaming around the city causing traffic problems, road accident.
“Few years back, according to a CAG report on Manipur Government Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA), a body entrusted with conservation of Manipuri Pony, procured 39 ponies without rate justification on account of which avoidable excess expenditure of Rs 16.74 lakh was incurred from public fund and State Veterinary department were spending lakhs of rupees on mundane office expenses.
 Department of Veterinary & Animal Husbandry Services, Manipur “had unreasonably made fund provisions of Rs 16 lakh in the budgets 2010-14 under the detailed head – salaries, office expenses, domestic travel expenses and other charges” for two fodder farms that became non-operational since 2005 which later found out that the said budget provisions of Rs 16 lakh, Rs 15.11 lakh was diverted by the department to meet expenditure for office expenses, diesel oil, repairing of vehicles and stationery items etc of the directorate.
As per CAG on the procurement of ponies the MHRPA had procured 39 nos of ponies at an average cost of Rs 72,923 out of the central fund where rate justification assessment of the cost of pony was, however, not on record and not verified by the department. Records have showed that MHRPA have sold (in August 2013) 12 ponies to the National Research Centre on Equines (NRCE), Bikaner (Rajasthan), at the rate of Rs 30,000 per pony as against the then prevailing market rate of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 for each pony. Later, CAG observed that the cost of pony included in the project estimate prepared by MHRPA was higher by an amount of Rs 42,923 than that of the selling price of a pony to NRCE and the maximum prevailing market rate of pony.”
With these record, who to blame; who will take the responsibility; who will save our Ponies? How long will we be watching ponies dying, suffering, and foraging at the city trash?
Will the government comes up with a new policy to save the endangered Manipuri Ponies?
This are the question left in the mind of the Manipuri people, pony lovers and owners.

About the Author

Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since 2013. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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