Following the Bombay High Court's crackdown on illegal stables in December, city horses that do have a legal roof on their heads may find themselves without one, with the Amateurs Riders Club (ARC) doubling the rent of its stables.
One of the country's oldest private riding clubs with the only BMC-certified stable in the city, the ARC located at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse houses 25 horses for the Club, and 70 privately-owned horses of its members. In a letter to its members earlier this month, ARC said it would increase the rent and electricity charges. The Club also informed the members that their annual deposit would be hiked to Rs 30,000 -- three times the amount that members are currently paying.
Before the hike, members paid a total amount of anything between Rs 10,000 to 15,000 every month, which included a rent of Rs 1,800, and riding and electricity charges. The committee proposes to increase the rent to Rs 3,000 and the electricity charges from Rs 200 to Rs 500.
Despite protests by members, the Club has no plans of rescinding their decision. ARC member and Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda said, "I don't see any reason why the ARC should increase the rent. The property has been leased by the government on a subsidised rate, and is not meant for commercial purposes. Also, the said property has no connection with the real estate world where rent increases with the property rates."
"We all are very upset with the committee's decision and have conveyed it to them. They have promised to review the decision," said ARC member Alexander Brian. Members told Sunday MiD DAY that though the ARC will not hike the annual deposit to Rs 30,000, the Club has not responded to reviewing the revised rent for stables, electricity charges and other expenses.
Members said that the ARC leased out a portion of its property to a restaurant reasoning that it would help them subsidise the rates for its members. President of ARC Raj Shroff said, "We have just proposed the revised rates to our members and have not collected any money so far. We have also had an open house discussion on the issue. The rent has not been increased in the last four years. Inflation has not left the club untouched."