IMPHAL, Oct 19 - With the Manipur Pony whose numbers are depleting at an alarming rate, the State Cabinet has given its approval to the draft Manipur Pony Conservation and Development Policy.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting here on Monday which was chaired by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, according to Government spokesman and Rural Development & Public Relations Minister Moirangthem Okendro.
�The government decided to take up all possible measures without any further delay after taking serious note of the fast depleting Manipuri Pony population�, he said.
The total number of Manipur Pony as per the Livestock Census 2003 was 1,898 while the Livestock Census 2012 had reported that the total pony population has declined to just 1,101.
The State Government would open an exclusive head of account for implementation of the pony conservation policy with the Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry as its nodal department.
Besides, a Manipuri Pony Development Board would be set up with the Chief Minister as chairman. Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Minister would be its vice-chairman and Principal Secretary/Commissioner/Secretary (Veterinary & Animal Husbandry) would be its member secretary. Representatives of different organisations working for preservation of Manipuri Pony would also be inducted as board members.
It may be mentioned that the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA) has been taking various measures to conserve the endangered Manipuri polo ponies by regularly organising the Manipur Polo International every year when the State celebrates the annual Manipur Sangai Festival during November-end.
The first polo game was said to be played at Mapal Kangjeibung or Polo ground in the heart of Imphal town. The oldest known Polo Club was the Cachar Club founded in Assam in 1859.
Experts have categorised Manipur ponies as �Critically endangered� species due to its low population, according to MHRPA which had once proposed to enact an Act to protect the rare animal in Manipur.