The district administration here has launched elaborate preparations to ensure a smooth and trouble-free Makaravilakku festival at Sabarimala to be held on January 15.

District Collector, P. Venugopal, has convened a meeting of various departmental heads in the district at the collectorate conference hall here on Tuesday to discuss the arrangements to be made for the Makaravilakku festival.

The Collector has directed the Travancore Devaswom Board to make necessary arrangements to serve medicated drinking water and biscuits to the pilgrims waiting in the queue inside the barricades along the Marakkoottom-Sannidhanam stretch of the traditional path as they have to wait in the long-winding queue even upto 15 hours during the rush days.

Mr Venugopal said the police will make every possible security and safety measures at eight places where pilgrims’ used to congregate to witness the Makarajyoti on the Makaravilakku day. The police would set up Aska lights, drinking water kiosks and erect iron barricades at these places, he added.

KSRTC to deploy 1000 buses

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation would deploy a total of 1000 buses for transportation of pilgrims from Pampa to Nilackal and various other destinations across the State on the Makaravilakku day, said Mr Esther Yashica, special officer at Pampa. As many as 300 buses will be parked at Pampa and remaining buses would park at Pampa and surrounding areas.

The Collector said only KSRTC buses would be permitted on the Pampa-Nilackal stretch of the main trunk road leading to Sabarimala on January 12, 13 and 15 to avert possible traffic blocks during the peak days of he festival season.

Tipper lorry traffic to be regulated

Mr Venugopal said the meeting has accepted the proposal by the Regional Transport Officer to regulate tipper lorry traffic in the district from January 14 to 18 in view of the Makaravilakku festival.

Mr P.J. Kurien, MP, said steps should be taken to check over-speeding of tipper lorries that has been leading to road mishaps in different part of the district.

Medical team from Karnataka

District Medical Officer, Laila Divakar, said the Health department has made elaborate preparations for the Makaravilakku fesial at Sabarimala.

A 20-member team of doctors from Karnataka would also join the Health department’s medical team at Sabarimala during the Makaravilaku festival. These specialist doctors would be deployed at various healthcare centres at Nilackal, Pampa and Sannidhanam, she said.

A total of 34 ambulances have already been kept ready in the service of pilgrims at Pampa and more ambulances would be mobilised from different parts of the State for the Makaravilakku festival, the DMO said.

The Colelctor has directed the Public Works Department to erect strong barricades at all open spaces where pilgrims congregate to worship Makarajyoti and the police should also inspect these barricades.

Local holiday for schools

Mr Venugopal said the proposal to give holiday for all schools in the district on January 16, the day after the Makaravilakku, will be considered in view of the heavy outflow of pilgrims anticipated from Sabarimala after the Makarajyoti darshan.

R. Kamalahar, Divisional Forest Officer; H. Salimraj, Additional District Magistrate and K.K. Balachandran, Superintendent of Police, also attended the meeting.