The Travancore Devaswom Board president, M. Rajagopalan Nair, has inaugurated a disaster control room at Sabarimala Sannidhanam on Saturday as part of the arrangements for the smooth conduct of the Makaravilakku festival.

Besides the officials attached to various State Government departments, staff on duty from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh too have been inducted into the disaster management team at Sabarimala.

TDB works department has constructed barricades at various spots identified as Makarajyoti viewing points at the Sannidhanam and Paandithavalam with a view to ensure safety of pilgrims.

The Environmental wing attached to the TDB Works Department has also taken measures to mitigate pollution problems arising out of the accumulation of waste at Pampa and Sannidhanam.

The Health department has kept ready as many as 36 ambulances in the service of the pilgrims at Pampa and Nilackal.

The Akhla Bharatha Ayappa Seva Sanghom has deployed as many as 240 volunteers at its stretcher unit alone, besides as many as 2000 volunteers at Sabarimala, Pampa and Nilackal.

The Devaswom Executive Officer, M.Sathishkumar, said the board was prepared to serve Annadanam to all pilgrims visiting Sabarimala on the Makaravilakku day.

He said permission has been granted to as many as 21 Annadanam groups to conduct Annadanam at Sabarimala during the Makaravilakku festival, he said.

2 pilgrims die of heart attack

Two pilgrims died of heart attack at Sabarimala on Saturday.

The deceased were identified as Ningaraj, 28, of Hospet in Bellary district of Karnataka and Chandraraj, 70, from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu.

The Ayyappa Seva Sanghom volunteers have shifted both the bodies to Pampa and from there to their native places, later.