The government has sanctioned Rs.2 crore for the Police Department to purchase 50 Aska lamps to light up the forest path in case of an emergency during the pilgrim season, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash said here on Sunday.

He said the police would strictly enforce the ban on plastic at Sabarimala during the pilgrim season, which begins on November 16. He said action would be taken to implement the beggary ban.

Mr. Prakash said the virtual queue system introduced by the police a year ago would continue this year too. He said 17,000 pilgrims had so far registered for ‘darshan’ through the system.

A company each of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) attached to the Central Reserve Police Force would be deployed at Sabarimala during the pilgrim season. The Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh governments had agreed to deploy their police personnel to assist the Kerala Police in crowd management.

He said Additional Director-General of Police P.Chandrashekharan had suggested that an elephant squad of the Forest Department should be deployed to check straying of wild elephants into pilgrim camps. MC Road and the Erumely-Chalakkayam road had already been repaired and construction of barricades along certain stretches was progressing, he added.

Repair on 17 major roads leading to Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Kottayam, Idukki and Alappuzha would be completed by November 5, the Minister said.

Mr. Prakash said the Kerala State Electricity Board had made arrangements to ensure uninterrupted power supply to Sabarimala during the festival season. KSEB officials said overhauling of distribution transformers at Nilackal, Pampa and along the trekking path was on.

He said the Health Department had made arrangements for sufficient stock of medicines and to deploy medical and paramedical staff at healthcare centres at Pampa, Sannidhanam and Nilackal.

The Minister said 12 ambulances and four mobile healthcare units would be deployed at Pampa. Special food safety inspection squads would also be pressed into service.

He said Rs.20 lakh had been sanctioned for repair and maintenance of the KSRTC bus station at Pampa.

The Water Resources Department would ensure the quality of drinking water supplied to Sabarimala, Pampa, and Nilackal. All trains would stop at the Chengannur and Thiruvalla stations during the pilgrim season.

Railways would open a temporary reservation counter at Pampa from November 15, besides opening additional ticket counters at the Ernakulam, Kottayam, Changanassery, Thiruvalla, and Chengannur stations.

The KSRTC would operate special services to Pampa from the railway station at these places.

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