Chennai: Acceding to the demands of animal rights activist for proper upkeep of animals donated to temples in Tamil Nadu, the government has formed a state-level committee.

When a PIL on the matter came up for hearing before the first bench of the Madras high court, government said the state level committee was formed as per a GO dated July 20. District-level committees, however, will take some more time, government said, adding that they would be notified in two months.

The issue of forming the committee had been brought before the court by a PIL filed by Radha Rajan who wanted the government to formulate a comprehensive scheme for the upkeep of animals donated to temples. She also wanted the court to order formation of a monitoring committee to supervise implementation of the scheme. Highlighting the issue of goshalas which house cows donated to temples, she said cows and calves were severely malnourished, and carcasses were buried in temple premises in Tiruvannamalai.

In August last year, the first bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had cautioned the HR&CE department for filing photoshopped pictures, apparently in an effort to show all was well with goshalas in TN temples.

The court had also threatened to put the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) directly in charge of protection and care animals., and said: “We want to emphasize that AWBI should be entrusted with the task (of maintaining temple elephants) rather than unqualified persons doing it…Adequate financial provisions should be made for deployment of competent people by the AWBI.”