Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the 10-day Chithirai festival of Sri Gowmariamman Temple at Veerapandi near here, which is scheduled to start on May 10.

Collector K.S.Palanisamy, who inspected the arrangements on the temple premises on Sunday, said the Theni-Cumbum Road within Veerpandi town would be closed for traffic during the festival. All vehicles from Theni would be diverted through Uppukottai and Kuchanur to reach Chinnamanur, Uthamapalayam, Cumbum, Gudalur and Kumuli. Vehicles returning to Theni from these destinations would pass through Thappugundu and Koduvilarpatti, he said.

A concrete floor had been laid near the Mullai Periyar riverbank for the pilgrims to sit and relax.

A temporary bridge had been constructed to enable pilgrims to reach the river and take bath. A temporary bus stand, toilet and drinking water facilities would be provided near the temple. Spacious parking lots for two-wheelers and four-wheelers had been created to accommodate more vehicles, the Collector said.

The shops should be set up within the space allotted to them. No extension or encroachment on the main path would be allowed. Sufficient space had been earmarked for the pilgrims to move about, Mr.Palanisamy said.

Superintendent of Police Praveen Kumar Abhinapu said a police control room would function round the clock on the temple premises to prevent crimes and assist tourists. In case of emergency, pilgrims could contact mobile number 75986 89138.

About 1,400 police personnel would be deployed near the temple during the festival days to regulate the crowd, he said, and added that special teams would monitor the movement of devotees round the clock. Women would have a separate path for darshan.

Two paths had been earmarked for devotees carrying pots filled with burning charcoal. Sufficient vehicles had been provided to remove used pots from the temple premises and dumping them in distant places, he said.

Fire tenders and ambulances had been kept ready near the temple, Mr.Abhinapu said.

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