Manakula Vinayagar temple elephant Lakshmi to get new home on one acre of sylvan land in Puducherry
A specially designed shed, pond and facility for shower bath as well as a shed for the mahout would be made before shifting the elephant, said Parliamentary Secretary to CM K Lakshminarayanan
PUDUCHERRY: One acre of sylvan land at Chinnayapuram belonging to the Kalathiswarar Varadaraja Perumal Temple trust is set to become the new home of Lakshmi, the elephant of Sri Manakular Vinayagar Temple, in tune with the advice of the Department of Forests and Wildlife.
The Kalathiswarar Varadaraja Perumal Temple Administrators and Sri Manakkula Ganesha Temple Administrators signed a lease agreement for the maintenance of the elephant in the presence of Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, Parliamentary Secretary to CM K Lakshminarayanan and other officials.
The area has trees and she would be able to walk on mud ground as required for captive animals. A specially designed shed, pond and facility for shower bath as well as a shed for the mahout would be made before shifting the elephant, said Lakshminarayanan.
Lakshmi was shifted to the premises of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Kurumambet, some 12 kilometres from the temple, on June 8 on orders issued by the Directorate of Forests and Wildlife, following concerns over its health while living in the premises of Eswaran Koil.
The Directorate had acted on complaints from BJP Lok Sabha member Maneka Gandhi to Lt Governor Kiran Bedi alleging repeated abuse and violations of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. There have been other complaints too of improper maintenance of the elephant, stated the order.
However the shifting left devotees disappointed as Lakshmi could not visit the temple at all. Besides, some devotees claimed that she was not safe and comfortable there because of snakes and insects. The elephant returned on July 18. Since then, the administration had been in search of a suitable place for the elephant.
Now, with the approval of the Department of Forests and Wildlife and Department of Animal Husbandry, steps have been taken to maintain the Manakula Vinayagar temple elephant in its new home, said Lakshminayaranan. Permission was granted by Hindu religious institutions to enter into a lease for three years. A copy of the contract was then given to the administration of the two temples.