After manual labourers, it is now the turn of captive elephants to have a long lunch break and siesta in order to spare them of toiling under scorching heat which Kerala is currently experiencing.
The state Wildlife Department has banned parading of jumbos during festivals between 11 AM to 3.30 PM to protect them from the heat wave conditions.
Considering oppressive heat and drought conditions, the state Labour Department had recently ordered that manual labourers working in open space, including those under the job guarantee schemes, should be given respite between 12 PM and 3 PM.
The circular issued recently also said elephants should not be paraded more than six hours continuously and those jumbos paraded during the night should be given rest the next day.
The festival organisers should ensure that the elephants get enough food and plenty of water before and after lining up the jumbos for carnivals, which is the most spectacular feature of temple festivals in Kerala, including the famous 'Thrissur Pooram.'
The circular also directed festival organisers to keep the onlookers at least three metres away from the elephants and ensure that they do not touch the animal.
Drunken mahouts should be strictly excluded from managing elephants during the festivals and legal steps should be taken against them if they are found inebriated while on duty.
The circular suggested restricting the jumbo carnivals and not to enhance the number of elephants in the existing festivals from the numbers fixed earlier. The circular asked police and wildlife personnel to compile a data bank on captive jumbos.