Number of tokens to be issued restricted to 700 per event
A large number of bull owners lined up at Avaniapuram, Palamedu and Alanganallur on Monday for registration of bulls for jallikattu events scheduled for this Pongal festival.
Joint Director of Animal Husbandry R. Rajathilagam said they had restricted the number of tokens to be issued to 700 per event. “This is to ensure that all registered bulls get an opportunity to participate in the events,” he said.
Mr. Rajathilagam said bulls were medically examined at 96 veterinary dispensaries and four veterinary hospitals across the district from January 7 to 10. “The bulls were examined at these health centres to check if they were medically fit to attend the jallikattu events. It was also checked if bulls had been vaccinated for foot-and-mouth disease. Based on this, the bulls were given medical certificates,” he said.
In addition, a photo of the bull with its owner and a helper was affixed with the medical certificate. “Usually, at least four people are allowed to accompany a bull. But, this year only two are allowed owing to restrictions imposed because of COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, the photographs attached with the medical certificates will tell the two persons who will accompany the bull to the arena,” he said.
The bulls were registered for jallikattu events on Monday based on the medical certificate. “Another medical examination for bulls will take place on the day of the jallikattu, which will guarantee the participation of the bulls in the game,” he added.
RT-PCR tests were also conducted for the bull owners and helpers participating in the jallikattu. “In the event of a bull owner or a helper testing positive for COVID-19, officials will be immediately informed and that person will not be allowed to participate in the event,” said Mr. Rajathilagam.
It is also learnt that unlike the previous years, revenue and police officials were also allowed to register bulls for jallikattu, along with animal husbandry officials. “This may lead to misuse of power while issuing registration tokens to bull owners,” said another official from the Animal Husbandry department.
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