GUWAHATI, June 20 - Putting the State government in a quandary, veterinarians here have refused to accompany the four elephants which have been given ‘transport’ clearance from Tinsukia to a temple in Gujarat.
“The State Forest department has approached a number of competent veterinarians to accompany the elephants. The vets who were approached have informed their inability to accompany the elephants, stating that they will not be a party to any such action which comprises the health and welfare of animals,” said the sources privy to the developments.
A few of them have stated that they are willing to let go of their jobs than be a part of such an action, added the sources.
Activists here are wondering if the animals are transported in closed wagons, how the temperature will be maintained.
“What provisions are there for circulation and cooling of air? If they pour too much water on the elephants, the floor will get slippery and dirty. This might lead to elephants slipping as they will be restrained. Moreover, they will be defecating and urinating at one place, which might lead to foot rot,” an activist told The Assam Tribune.
A railway official, however, said nothing has been finalised regarding the wagons to be used and the date of journey. “We are still discussing the whole issue,” he said.
State’s Chief Wildlife Warden Ranjana Gupta, however, said all guidelines and protocols laid down for the purpose will be followed in the transportation.
Activists are also wondering why the State government is so “worked up” on transportation, even though the elephants are being transported for private use.
Meanwhile, Kaliabor MP and Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi has written a letter to Union Forest and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, protesting the move.
Citing the heat conditions in the country, Gogoi requested the Central minister’s intervention to instruct the State government to withdraw the decision.