Madurai, Feb 24: The Government of Tamil Nadu would give special focus to Alanganallur and Palamedu villages in Madurai district, which were famous for Jallikattu (bull taming), by developing the infrastructure facilities to attract more foreign tourists.
Talking to the sources, district Collector S S Jawahar said the district administration had planned to construct a 'permanent gallery' at an outlay of Rs 50 lakh each, in both the villages for conducting the Jallikattu events in a more safer manner in the future to protect the spectators, under the Tourism Development Programme. Special arrangements would be made for the foreign tourists to watch the event.
The officials of the Public Works Department (PWD) had been asked to prepare a detailed project report for getting necessary sanction from the State Government.
The gallery would have commercial shopping complex that would yield permanent revenue to the town panchayats.
Since both Alanganallur and Palamedu villages were on the 'international map' for the Jallikattu events, plans were afoot to further develop the infrastructure facilities in these villages under the All Town Panchayat Anna Renaissance Scheme for the year 2008-09.
Under the proposed planconcrete roads, parks, drinking water facilities, community hall, shopping complexes, deepening of ponds and lakes to improve water resources and approach roads would be made, he said.
Mr Jawahar said that the district administration had conducted the Jallikattu events as per the stipulations laid by the Supreme Court.
He claimed that there was not even a single death this year and no one was seriously injured in the events held so far at various places in the district. Only few tamers and onlookers sustained minor injuries and all of them were well treated in the hospitals, he pointed out.
The injuries caused to the tamers as well spectators were also minimized this year due to various precautionary measures taken by the authorities in coordination with health, police, and PWD departments, he added.
Mr Jawahar said infact, he had personally supervised the arrangements made for the events at Alanganallur and Palamedu and also screened the events in person. The Supreme Court was very much concerned over not only causing cruelty to animals, but also the fatal incidents to the onlookers and participants. As per the apex court order, members of Blue Cross and Animal Welfare Board witnessed the events and they were extremely happy with the arrangements and the conduct of the events, he claimed.
Although the strict stipulations laid by the apex court on conducting Jallikattu event, an ancient bull wrestling sport practised in Tamil Nadu, had dampened the spirit of the bull fighters and rural folk, the animal lovers were elated over the verdict, which had definitely gone a long way in the conduct of the event in a more humane and civilized manner.
Jallikattu otherwise called 'Manju Virattu' is a wild bull taming sport that takes place in villages throughout the State every January, as part of the Pongal festival celebrations. The event dated back to as far as 2,000 years was much expected among the villagers, as it was considered as a bravery sport.
Jallikattu was very famous in Southern districts of Tamil Nadu than any other parts in the State. The Southern districts witnessed unrest last month after the apex court refused to lift the ban imposed on conducting the event on the grounds of animal cruelty.
However, based on an assurance given by the Tamil Nadu Government that the authorities would put come out with elaborate guidelines to prevent cruelty to animals and ensure safety to human beings, the court lifted the ban.
This year, the Jallikattu events had claimed two lives and injured about 500 people in Southern districts of Tamil Nadu. The deceased were identified as P Kumar (30) and Senthil (21). Both the casualities were reported in Sivaganga district.
While Kumar was gored to death in a Jallikattu held at M Pudur village on February 17, Senthil died in another Jallikattu event held at Aralipparai village on February 20.