Villagers don’t want jumbo camp at Thekkampatti

Coimbatore: Amid protests from villagers, the annual rejuvenation camp for elephants, organised by the Tamilnadu government at Thekkampatti, is set to begin tomorrow.

Villagers have been up against the camp and hoisted black flags atop their houses today, saying pachyderms from the forests were straying into their homes and also destroying the crops.

The Federation of Farmers of 23 villages in and around the hamlet near Mettupalayam, warned that they would lay siege to the venue if the State government went ahead with the camp.

The farmers said the presence of the female elephants in the camp would attract wild tuskers, which then raid the crops and houses in the nearby areas.

They also alleged that so far 16 lives have been lost due to the attack by wild tuskers. They have also filed a writ petition against conducting the camp at the site.

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department plans to organise the 48-day camp from 14 December. A total of 29 elephants from various temples in Tamilnadu and Puducherry are expected to be part of the camp.

The jumbos will be treated for existing diseases and a team of veterinarians will also conduct medical checks during the camp. The elephants will be taken out for walks and given nutritious food.

This would be the 11th rejuvenation camp for temple elephants in the State since it was launched in November 2003 by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Initially, the camp was held at Theppakadu in the Nilgiris in 2013, but the venue was later shifted to Thekkampatti in Mettupalayam.

NT Bureau