Officials expect number of devotees to increase on the auspicious occasion

In spite of the clear impact of anti-bifurcation protests, Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthanam is optimistic that the number of devotees visiting the hill shrine on the auspicious occasion of `Moola nakshtram’ on October 10 (Thursday) will touch five lakh.

The rush of devotees has so far been a trickle compared to the previous years due to the difficulty in reaching the city by trains whose movement has been badly affected by the electricity employees’ strike.

The RTC buses too stayed off roads for the last 70 days.

However, the temple authorities and the district officials are making necessary arrangements to cater to the additional rush of pilgrims in the coming days.

“We are planning for the imminent rush of pilgrims. The officials are asked to not leave anything to chance,” Sub-Collector D. Harichandana told media persons. The officials of Revenue and Police Department have been put on alert in view of the heavy influx of devotees. Security is being tightened for preventing any untoward incident. As far as the amenities are concerned, the temple management is able to render services with the available staff with help coming from volunteers.

Normally, a few hundreds of employees of other major temples are deputed for the festival but the authorities could not do it this time due to the strike.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy is most likely to cancel his visit to the temple on October 10 due to the prevailing situation.

He is scheduled to be present the traditional `pattu vastrams’ on that day. In his place, Endowments Minister C. Ramachandraiah or Secondary Education Minister K. Parthasarathy is expected to complete the formality.