The newly introduced Virtual Queue system by the police exclusively for pilgrims who have registered their names online for holy darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple has been reportedly plagued by ‘fake’ identification cards produced by pilgrims and the multiple bookings made either by themselves or by their agents ever since the reopening of the temple for the Makaravilakku festival on Friday afternoon.
The police personnel posted at the entrance of the `Virtual Queue’ near the Valiyanadappanthal and at Marakkoottom for verifying the online registration slips and photo identity cards were put to a difficult position owing to lack of clarity in the documents produced the pilgrims.
Moreover, the heavy rush of pilgrims witnessed at Sabarimala during the past two days was another hindrance to the police efforts to verify the genuineness of the documents produced before them.
There was heavy rush for entering into the Virtual Queue too on Saturday and Sunday and the police had to physically prevent the pilgrims who tried to infiltrate into the queue.
According to the police, the existing system seldom prevents multiple online bookings for holy darshan. There were also reports that certain travel agents and tour operators in the State as well as in the neighbouring States were making multiple entries on the police website, misusing the Virtual Queue system.
Talking to The Hindu, Additional Director General of Police, P.Chandrashekharan, who is the brain behind the new online registration system, said the Police department would revamp the system, correcting the teething troubles and plugging what ever flaws left with it, by the next annual pilgrim season.
Mr. Chandrashekharan who is also the police co-ordinator at Sabarimala said it was a fact that the prevailing system permits multiple bookings by the same person, denying chances of many pilgrims for availing the facility.
The ADGP said Police was exploring the possibility of taking the fingerprints of those pilgrims registering their name online for holy darshan at Sabarimala through the Virtual Queue system from the next ‘mandalam season’ onwards. This would effectively check chances of multiple bookings by the same person, he said. Mr. Chandrashekharan said the e-registration for holy darshan at Sabarimala was part of a pilgrim-friendly crowd management programme of the Kerala Police.
By this, pilgrims will have to register their name on the Kerala Police website, sabarimala.keralapolice.gov.in, opening the link `Q Coupon’. Those who have made online booking need not wait for long hours for the holy darshan at the Ayyappa Temple.
Those who have registered their names online may reach the Valiya Nadappanthal throught the Chandranandan Road and they will be permitted to enter the general queue directly from the Valiyanadappanthal.
The Virtual Queue facilitates a smooth holy darshan to as many as 16,000 pilgrims (1000 pilgrims an hour) every day, and bookings for the entire Makaravilakku festival has already been completed, police said.