THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Following widespread allegations of lack of facilities at the improved veterinary unit at Kottoor Elephant Rehabilitation Centre, and in line with the order of the Kerala High Court, amicus curiae lawyer Raghunath KR visited the establishment on Saturday to carry out an inspection. The inspection was carried out by amicus curiae in the buildings constructed in the rehabilitation center by the Forestry Department.
According to Angels Nair, Secretary General of Animal Legal Force, who is a respondent in the case, the new facility was built at the cost of Rs 105 crore and lacks even basic facilities. The newly renovated hospital was commissioned in May last year, but it also lacks basic facilities. There is no equipment and apart from a few shelters made of a concrete base and a tin roof, the center has no facilities to care for sick animals,” Angels explains. No less than 15 elephants are currently kept in the rehabilitation center of Kottoor, spread over an area of 51 hectares. The High Court bench consisting of lawyers Anil K Narendran and PG Ajith Kumar had ordered the investigation.
Earlier, the High Court found it essential to improve the facilities available at the Kottoor centre, which is Kerala’s only elephant rehabilitation centre. This is the court-initiated suo moto case regarding the “sad situation” of tusker Sasthamcotta Neelakandan who was taken to the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre. The tusker died while undergoing treatment and the court ordered the facilities to be improved.
However, animal rights activists have alleged that immense corruption was involved in the refurbishment of facilities and the establishment of the centre’s veterinary units. “During today’s investigation, officials said that so far only 71 crore has been used to set up the facilities. But no treatment facilities are seen at the veterinary centre,” a Angels said.The case has been adjourned to Jan. 21.