Ludhiana, April 19
A delegation of the Kila Raipur Sports Society met Anurag Thakur, the Union Minister for Sports, Youth Affairs and Information and Broadcasting, on Wednesday and urged him to get the President’s assent for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2019.
BJP national spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill facilitated the meeting at Delhi. The minister was told that grant of assent to the Bill would pave way for the resumption of bullock cart racing at the annual Kila Raipur Sports Festival, popularly known as ‘Mini Olympics’ here.
The delegation drew the attention of Thakur towards the significant place held by the race in culture and heritage of Punjab.
Shergill said these rural games have been held continuously since 1933 in Kila Raipur village of the district. With the passing of time, their popularity has increased a lot. Today, the games are known globally as ‘Mini Olympics’ and the most popular part of the sports festival is bullock cart racing, which was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014, while hearing a plea by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Punjab Legislative Assembly later. However, the President is yet to give assent to the Bill.
“The game is played not only in the Kila Raipur village of Ludhiana but also in almost 80 per cent of the villages of the state, which amount to almost 12,000,” said Shergill.
He said the resumption of bullock cart racing would have a positive impact as Punjabis are emotionally connected with the game.
The delegation members also informed the Union Minister that big corporate houses have been sponsoring these games. Shergill said: “Lakhs of people, including a large number of foreigners, come to enjoy these games every year. Due to the immense popularity, the Government of India had included these games in the list of Heritage Games in 1970, following which an annual grant of Rs 2.5 lakh is disbursed by the Union Government for organising these games.”
Shergill requested Thakur to help the sports society on the issue so that the racing can also be included in the next edition of the games. The delegation handed over a letter to the Union Minister in this regard.
Declared Heritage Games by GoI in 1970
BJP national spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said: “Lakhs of people, including a large number of foreigners, come to enjoy the Kila Raipur Sports Festival every year. The Centre had included these games in the list of Heritage Games in 1970 due to their immense popularity, following which an annual grant of Rs 2.5 lakh is disbursed by the Union Government for organising these games.”
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