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Kerala’s Thrissur Pooram: No need for fitness test for elephants by Forest department team, says Minister K. Rajan

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According to Kerala Revenue Minister K. Rajan, no fitness test by special team is needed for the elephants. New order will be issued soon, the Minister said. (image for representation)
| Photo Credit: K.K.. NAJEEB

The Kerala government has intervened for the second time to change the order of the Forest department in connection with safe conduct of Thrissur Pooram.

The order of the Forest department insisting on a fitness test by its special team for the elephants to be paraded in the Thrissur Pooram events was changed following government intervention.

According to Revenue Minister K. Rajan, no fitness test by special team is needed for the elephants. New order will be issued soon, the Minister added.

An order issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden on April 16 (Tuesday) insisted fitness examination of the elephants to be paraded in the Thrissur Pooram by a rapid response team (RRT) of the Forest department. This is in addition to the existing fitness examination by a team of veterinary doctors.

According to the order, a field control and command centre will be set up at Paravattani forest complex. The centre will function under the leadership of the Forest Chief Conservator from April 18 to April 20.

A crisis brewed after the elephant owners and Paramekkavu/Thiruvambadi devaswoms protested against the new instructions of the Forest department alleging these were impractical. The elephant owners refused to send the elephants for the Pooram.

Earlier, the Forest department was forced to bow to pressure from temple committees and elephant owners to relax its regulations on the use of firecrackers within 50-m radius of elephants during the festival.

Besides firecrackers, the order of the Chief Wildlife Warden prohibited percussion instruments and flambeaus within the distance of 50 m from elephants. It also insisted on a 3-m distance between people and elephants during parades. It also banned use of capture belts and iron ankush.

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