THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has decided to seek legal opinion on the issue of parading the majestic but mischievous tusker Thechikottukavu Ramachandran at Thrissur Pooram, leaving the festival enthusiasts waiting. A final decision is expected on Friday.
The move came after the government held a ministerial-level meeting with the Kerala Elephant Owners Federation here on Thursday. The owners had said on Tuesday that they would not lease out jumbos for Pooram and all other festivals from Saturday if 54-year-old Ramachandran is not allowed to push open the south gate (famous Thekkottirakkam) of Vadakkumnathan Temple on May 13.
Ministers Kadakampally Surendran (Devaswom) and V S Sunilkumar (Agriculture) led the meeting, with K B Ganesh Kumar MLA representing the elephant owners’ body.
Surendran said: “We’re determined to make this year’s Pooram better than the previous ones. Discussions were made with an open mind to ensure it.”
“We’ll know more once we get the legal advice. There’s also the court order to wait for. The association has also raised the general issues they’re facing because of the new policies of the Forest Department in elephant rearing and criteria for their participation in processions and festivals. However, these are things that can’t be discussed in one day and don’t concern Pooram. So we’ve assured them that once the Chief Minister gets back (after European tour), a discussion will be held on the same in his presence,” said Surendran. He also said it is the monitoring committee, with the collector as head, who holds sway in this matter.
Sunil Kumar, who ruled out parading Ramachandran extensively during Pooram, said: “We’re expecting a positive decision from the owners. We’ve requested them to withdraw the decision to not give elephants for festivals and processions. In the case of Pooram, our concern is to ensure that the festival is conducted without much ado.”
Vulnerable elephants to be kept out
The Thrissur Collector refused to comment on lifting the ban the tusker, saying the matter is under court’s consideration
She said the jumbos on musth period and vulnerable to loud noises would be prohibited from entering the city from May 11-14