The Health Department and the Madurai Corporation are on alert as the city is set to witness a massive gathering of people next week for the Chithirai festival. The focus is on four days — April 21 when Lord Kallazhagar starts the journey from Alagarkoil to the city, April 23 when the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareswarar takes place, April 25 when Lord Kallazhagar’s enters the Vaigai and April 26 when he begins the journey back to his abode.

Officials are working in tandem to provide sanitation, safe drinking water and handle medical emergencies when lakhs of people throng Madurai. S. Senthilkumar, Deputy Director of Health Services, said on Friday that the primary health centres located between Alagarkoil and K. Pudur had been put on alert and sanitary measures were under way with the support of the local panchayats.

“There will be huge crowds on Alagarkoil Road on April 21. So a health camp will be arranged on that route to provide prompt medical attention,” he said. The ‘108’ emergency ambulance service too drew up an action plan to position its ambulances at strategic points.

S.G.S. Lakshmanan, Regional Manager (operations) of ‘108’ service, said that 10 ambulances would be available within city limits till the festivities were over.

For instance, the ‘108’ ambulance at Chekkanoorani would be placed in Nagamalai Pudukottai so that it can reach the emergency site in time.

The ambulance at Samayanallur would be positioned at Paravai.

Drinking water would be chlorinated during the festival. Medical booths were arranged near Meenakshi Temple to handle any emergency that happens on the day of the celestial wedding.

Yasodha Mani, City Health Officer, said the Corporation had roped in Food Safety Officers to inspect hotels and eateries next week.

Sanitary inspectors would keep a close watch over the sites where ‘annadhanam’ and community feast will be arranged.