The Rest and Restoration camp for temple elephants was doing a world of good not only for the pachyderms but also their handlers (mahouts), observed the Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments M.S.M. Anandan at the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) near here on Sunday.

With the camp for 36 female and one male temple elephant which got underway on December 14 scheduled to end in about a week, Mr. Anandan accompanied by the Commissioner, HR and CE J. Chandrakumar visited Mudumalai to get a first hand feel of the situation on the ground.

Interacting with the handlers, he pointed out that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was keen on ensuring the welfare of not only the people but also animals. Hence the conduct of such camps which had been discontinued by the previous DMK regime had been revived by her.

Stating that over the last five weeks there was a marked difference in the physical well being of the animals and the handlers, he said that a chart containing Dos and Don’ts for the former would be handed over to the latter at the conclusion of the camp.

Adverting to a list of demands submitted by the handlers, he assured that they would be taken up with the Chief Minister. A report on the camp would be submitted to her. She will take a decision on where and how the next camp should be conducted.

Later speaking to reporters, Mr. Anandan said that the Annadhanam scheme which had been introduced in about 64 temples about a decade ago was doing well. It had been expanded and it now covered about 468 temples.

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