Thiruvananthapuram: The Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Kottoor in this district is set to become the largest care and cure centre for elephants in the world.
The first phase of the Internationally acclaimed Elephant Rehabilitation Centre will be commissioned in February 2021. The project is being implemented at a cost of Rs 108 crore with funding from KERALA INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT FUND BOARD (KIIFB).
The Centre has facilities to accommodate 50 elephants including the existing 16 elephants, an official release said here on Thursday.
The existing Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Kottoor is being upgraded to international standards as part of the Government's special consideration for the protection and conservation of elephants. A sum of Rs 71.9 crore was spent on the construction work of the first phase of the project that began in 2019.
The Centre is being upgraded with extensive facilities. About 50 elephant habitats (enclosures) specially enclosed by steel poles and steel nets, to house elephants in their natural habitat on 176 hectares of forest land in the Kottur forest area. Of these, 35 will be completed in the first phase and the rest in the second phase, the release said.
The project, built by the Housing Board, will also include the construction of various reservoirs and check dams at the Neyyar Dam and also special facilities for the care of elephant calves.
The release said the aim of the new Centre is to give the elephants that come to the rehabilitation centre a natural ecosystem just like in the forest.
It will also have an elephant museum, a veterinary hospital with super speciality facilities, a study and research centre for nature lovers and students, a training centre for mahouts, an entrance plaza, an administrative office, parking for visitors, a cafeteria, cottages, a toilet block and a special elephant viewing facility.
A post-mortem facility and a cemetery are being set up as part of the project. A large kitchen for cooking food for the elephants, a spacious separate area for feeding them and a facility for the public to view the elephants at a safe distance are being set up.
The project envisages a large convention centre and an amphitheatre at Kottoor. A unit for making paper from elephant dung and a system for producing biogas from waste will be set up here.
Special facilities will be provided for collection and disposal of solid wastes including non-recyclable plastics. A liquid waste treatment plant is also part of the project.
With the completion of the project, more than 250 people will be employed every day. Of these, 100 will be elephant herders. 40 will be accommodated with their families and 40 will be provided with dormitory facilities as part of the project.
The project is also expected to generate job opportunities for the locals. Adivasis living in the nearby forest areas will be given priority in the employment at the centre.
With the completion of the project, Kottur will become a major tourist destination in the Thiruvananthapuram district and will see a huge leap in the tourism sector in general as more than 3.5 lakh people, including half a lakh tourists from overseas, are expected to visit Kottoor every year.
Tourism projects of the Forest Department and the Water Resources Department in the Neyyar Dam area will also be developed along with this project, the release added.(UNI)