Sabarimala Sanitation Society (SSS) chaired by Pathanamthitta District Collector has deployed a total of 650 workers at Sabarimala as well as various base camps for pilgrims during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival that begins on November 16.

Addressing a press conference here on Thrusday, District Collector T.T. Antony said 300 sanitation workers have been deployed at the Sannidhanam, 260 at Pampa, 80 at Nilackal and 10 at Pandalam on Wednesday. All the workers have been recruited from the bordering areas of Kambom, Theni, Tirunelveli, Salem, and Madurai in Tamil Nadu with the help of the Akhilla Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom. They have been provided with Rs. 150 towards their daily wage, besides food, accommodation, two pairs of uniform, foot wear, bathing soap and coconut oil.

Mr. N. Mahesan, former Revenue Divisional Officer and Ms. Saraswathi Amma, Deputy Collector, will be co-ordinating the SSS functioning at Sannidhanam and Pampa respectively, Collector said.

The entire Sabarimala area has been divided into 17 sectors in terms of sanitation and workers will be deployed under a revenue official in each sector from November 16.

Mr. Antony said the SSS would keep 250 waste bins at different points and every possible step has been taken for the disposal of waste collected from different parts of the pilgrim centre in the safest possible way.

Joint squads

The Collector said two special squads comprising representatives of the Police, Revenue, Legal Metrology, Health and Civil Supplies departments have been constituted for taking effective steps to check fleecing of pilgrims at various shops and hotels at Sabarimala and surrounding areas.

Another joint squad led by the Taluk Supply Officer will conduct periodic inspections at various shops and hotels at Vadasserikkara, Laha, Pathanamthitta and Pandalam during the annual pilgrim season.

A duty magistrate has been appointed at the Sannidhanam and Pampa to co-ordinate the functioning of the SSS as well as various government agencies at Sabarimala.

Crisis management committee

He said a district-level crisis management committee has also been constituted to review the arrangements at Sabarimala every 15 days.

The committee chaired by the District Collector will have the Superintendent of Police, District Medical Officer, Duty Magistrates at Pampa and Sannidhanam, District Supply Officer, Assistant Controller of Legal Metrology, Devaswom Commissioner, Assistant Development Commissioner (General) and District Food Inspector as its members.

Ban on begging

Meanwhile, the government has banned begging in Sabarimala and in the surrounding areas, invoking the relevant provisions in the Travancore Prevention of Begging Act from November 10 to January 20, 2010.

Control rooms

District administration has opened control rooms at Collecorate (ph. 0468-2222515, 2222507) and taluk offices at Kozhencherry (ph. 0468-2222221) and Ranni (Ph. 04735-227442).

Mr. Antony said as many as 12 ambulances belonging to various private hospitals in the district would be arranged at the Collectorate premises to meet any emergency during the Mandalapuja and

Makaravilakku festival.

Oxygen parlours

As many as 16 oxygen parlours will be set up at different points on the Pampa-Sannidhanam trekking path, he said. Temporary dispensaries will also be at Nilackal base camp and close to the Pandalam Valiyakoickal Palace from November 15.

Additional District Magistrate, H. Salimraj, was also present.

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