Meeting on Thekkampatti elephant camp soon: Collector

‘Inauguration date will be finalised in a few days’

As the annual rejuvenation camp for temple and mutt elephants is scheduled to be held at Thekkampatti near Mettupalayam in February, District Collector K. Rajamani said on Saturday that he will soon convene a meeting with officials from various departments.

“We are planning to have a meeting on Monday regarding the preliminary arrangements [for the camp],” he told The Hindu. The preparatory works along the banks of River Bhavani at Thekkampatti will begin following the meeting. Mr. Rajamani said that the inauguration date for the elephant camp will be finalised in a few days.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department S. Prabhakar has instructed all the officials to be prepared for the 48-day-long rejuvenation camp.

Sources said that the officials were instructed to ensure that all the workers accompanying the elephants to the camp undergo COVID-19 tests and must only be allowed if they test negative. All those at the camp including mahouts, veterinarians and drivers must follow COVID-19 safety protocol such as wearing masks and the visitors at the camp site must not be allowed near the elephants. The vehicles transporting the elephants must be thoroughly disinfected prior to boarding the elephants, Mr. Prabhakar has instructed the officials.

The HR&CE Department sources also said that the officials were instructed to ensure that all elephants have a COVID-19 negative certificate from veterinarians. When contacted, officials at the Forest Department said that although there are no instances of elephants testing COVID-19 positive in the country so far, the instruction could have been made as a precautionary measure.

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