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Maneka wants corpus to fund animal welfare organisations

Special Correspondent

— Photo : N. Sridharan

WELL DESERVED: Governor Surjit Singh Barnala presenting the Karuna Ratna Award to Maneka Gandhi, chairperson, People for Animals, in Chennai on Sunday.

CHENNAI: Maneka Gandhi, a former Union Minister, and chairperson of the People for Animals (PFA), has called for creating of a corpus of Rs.25 crore to support the financially weak animal welfare organisations in the country.

Mrs. Gandhi, who was given the Karuna Ratna Award for her contribution to animal welfare, said several animal welfare organisations were functioning in remote corners of the country, and they depended on financial aid from animal welfare boards of the respective States. “We have dedicated and committed animal welfare activists and organisations spread over the country. But what we lack is proper strategy and planning to channelise these efforts and the philanthropic service. We could change India if only proper strategies were in place along with munificence,” Mrs. Gandhi said.

Mrs. Gandhi appealed to Surana and Surana International Attorneys, which instituted the award, to start a free legal aid wing to fight cases in courts. “The need of the hour is to create a mass movement not only to mobilise support to care and love animals but to take a vow to fight the legal battles,” she said, pointing to the efforts to seek a ban on the conduct of “Jallikattu” in Madurai. She wanted animal lovers in this part of the country to nominate a worthy person for the Padmashree Award for animal welfare since the last such recognition was given, in 2001, to a woman in Goa.

Along with Mrs.Gandhi, D.R. Mehta, founder, Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayata Samiti and former Deputy Governor of RBI; Dulichand Jain, president, Karuna International and Vivekananda Educational Trust; and Sadhana Rao, secretary, Indian Institute of Animal Welfare, received the award.

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