Annual rejuvenation camp for TN temple elephants begins

Coimbatore: The 11th edition of annual rejuvenation camp for temple elephants in Tamilnadu began at Thekkampatti on the banks of Bhavani River near here Friday.

State Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister Sevoor S Ramachandran inaugurated the camp along with forest minister Dindigul Serinivasan and Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani.

Ramachandran said 27 elephants from various temples and mutts had been brought for participation in the 48-day camp, a pet project of late chief minister Jayalalithaa. Adequate medical care will be provided to the elephants at the camp with special veterinarian teams, he said adding nutritious food with special diet would be given.

Meanwhile, about 40 farmers of surrounding 23 villages attempted to stage a picketing of the road near the venue, opposing the camp at the location, claiming threat to the people and crops by wild elephants which stray into their area in view of the presence of temple jumbos.

The protesters were detained and taken away, Police said. Referring to the protest, Velumani said there was no such threat to the villagers. The government has taken adequate safety measures to protect the villagers in and around the 6-acre camp, which ends on 30 January.

Speaking to reporters, Forest Minister Srinivasan said all efforts were being made to prevent wild elephants straying into human habitats across the state. The government was also considering increasing the solatium to the families of those killed by elephants to Rs 10 lakh as being given to forest department officials presently, he said.