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Coming to the rescue of captive elephants in Kerala, the state government on Monday, June 22, started the distribution of free food to the gentle giants.
"Food and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman inaugurated the launch at Mararikulam, Alappuzha. With the scheme, the government is ensuring that not only humans but also animals did not starve during the coronavirus pandemic," Thilothaman said.
Jayakrishnan, Raja and Madhavan, owned by Krishnaprasad of Mararikulam, were the first captive elephants in the state to benefit from the scheme, reported On Manorama.
Under the scheme, food will be distributed by the Animal Husbandry Department along with the support of the State Forest Department. The food kit comprises of eight items that can last for 40 days and has rice (120 kg), wheat (160 kg), ragi (120 kg), green gram (20 kg), horse gram (20 kg), salt (2.2 kg), turmeric (400 grammes) and jaggery (6 kg)
The state government will be spending ₹400 daily to feed the jumbos, making each kit worth ₹16,000 for each elephant. As a captive elephant needs fodder worth ₹800 daily, the remaining expenses will be borne by the owner.
The government has earmarked a total of ₹5 crore for the Animal Husbandry sector to provide free food for the elephants, Thilothaman said. In Alappuzha district, the state government will provide the ration first to 17 elephants older than 15 years, belonging to 10 owners.
"Earlier, elephant owners approached the Chief Minister seeking aid after their revenues dried up as a result of the cancellation of temple festivals and other functions due to the pandemic. To overcome the crisis, the State government has earmarked an amount of ₹5 crore for the Animal Husbandry sector. Free food will be provided to all captive elephants in the State for 40 days," the Minister was quoted by The Hindu.
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