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Elaborate arrangements for Pongala

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FESTIVE SPIRIT: The Attukal Devi Temple in the city decked up for the annual festival. Photo: S. Gopakumar
FESTIVE SPIRIT: The Attukal Devi Temple in the city decked up for the annual festival. Photo: S. Gopakumar

Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: Nearly 38 lakh women devotees are expected to offer Pongala in connection with the Attukal temple festival in the city on March 3, according to a police department estimate.

More than 32 lakh women had made the offering last year.

City Police Commissioner K. Padmakumar said 1,300 policemen and 250 policewomen would be deployed on Pongala day to oversee security and traffic arrangements.

Safety of women and children, preventing misuse of loudspeakers, ensuring smooth flow of traffic, crowd control and prevention of divisive, anti-social and criminal activities are the prime concerns of the police in the festival area.

This year, the police have given microphone sanctions sparingly. No person has been accorded sanction to put up more than two loudspeakers. Those given permission have been asked to strictly adhere to the provisions of the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000, including limiting the intensity of sound below 55 decibels. Except at the festival venue, loudspeakers should not be engaged between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Appropriating road space for erecting pandals, stages and arch-shaped advertisement boards will be discouraged. The police will not allow the practice of halting traffic under the pretext of providing refreshments for devotees returning after Pongala.

The police have opened a control room, equipped with medical staff and wireless sets, at the temple.

Twenty policewomen have been deployed inside the temple for crowd control and prevention of petty crimes such as pickpocketing and chain-snatching. Policewomen will be deployed near the major temple ponds in the city in the early hours, including that of Sree Padmanabha Swamy and Sreevarahom temples, which are used for ablutions by a large number of women devotees. Policewomen on duty will not be allowed to make the Pongala offering.

Traffic regulations

The police expect devotees to occupy the road up to Spencer junction for Pongala. Parking will not be allowed on Mahatma Gandhi Road from Spencer to Overbridge.

The eastern side of the Attakulangara- Overbridge road will be kept free for the speedy movement of police, ambulance and other emergency service vehicles. The Overbridge- Uppidamoodu -Vanchiyoor- General Hospital road will also be kept free for emergency use. Several stretches, particularly the Eenchakkal-Chakka National Highway bypass, have been identified for parking. No parking will be allowed on one of the service roads bordering the bypass.

Only one-way traffic will be allowed on the Manacaud-Attukal road during busy hours. Manacaud-Valiyapalli- Thunjan Smarakam- Medamukku-Konchiravila -Chettivilakam -Kalipankulam market-Valiyapalli- Manacaud will be the alternate route when the one-way system is clamped.

Only pedestrian movement will be allowed on Manacaud-Attukal temple road from 3 p.m. on March 2. Vehicles will not be allowed on the Vettimurichakottai-Manacaud road after 5 p.m. the same day. The East Fort-Manacaud-Attukal route will be kept free of vehicles after 5 p.m. on March 2.

KSRTC services

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will operate buses towards Kovalam side from Kamaleshwaram.

Buses towards Pettah will start from Fort School and those bound for Neyyattinkara from Maruthoorkadavu and the Attakulangara bypass road.

Buses bound in the direction of Ulloor and Kesavadaspuram will start from Ayurveda College junction.

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