Snakes caught during Kalam visit

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BIG CATCH: Snake-catchers with the reptiles
BIG CATCH: Snake-catchers with the reptiles

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: As President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was confabulating with scientists on ways to make the country energy independent at Rashtrapathi Nilayam, snake-catchers deployed on the sprawling lawns were busy trapping reptiles.

Between June 3 and 10, as many as 12 snakes -- three Indian cobras, four rat snakes, common kraits, vipers (two each) and another one known as "chedugu" in local parlance -- were nabbed by four alert snake-catchers. They were specially hired from an area known as "Pamulu Basthi" near Amberpet in the city.

Help from zoo

An animal keeper from the Nehru Zoological Park supervised the work of snake-catchers. Those caught during the President's stay included a cobra, two rat snakes and a scorpion. The dozen reptiles were kept in six boxes and provided with feed (rats, crabs and house lizards) supplied from the zoo. All of them were brought and released into `Reptile Park' at the zoo here on Sunday, its director, P. Bhaskar Reddy told The Hindu .

The normally desolate place bustled with activity, resembling a mini-Rashtrapathi Bhavan, during the three-day sojourn of Dr. Kalam. A hotline, EPBX system, Internet and other facilities were put in place and the President's cooks and other personal staff formed part of his entourage.

In the midst of his hectic schedule, Dr. Kalam took a walk around the Nilayam and made it a point to pose for group photographs with the kitchen staff, drivers and others, before returning to New Delhi.



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