The eight-day annual Chithirai festival at Sri Gowmariamman Temple at Veerapandi will begin on May 6.

Collector K.S. Palanisamy said in a release that the temple administration had made elaborate arrangements for the festival. To prevent fire, thatched sheds would not be allowed to be put up in the vicinity of the temple. Shelters around the temple, rest halls and cooking areas should be covered with fireproof materials like zinc sheets. Gas, kerosene and pump stoves should not be used near the temple.

Barricades would be erected around the temple and inside the main praharam to facilitate separate access for women so that they could have darshan with ease. An open space had been identified where pilgrims could dump their fire pots under the watchful eyes of Fire and Rescue Services personnel. A fire engine would be stationed nearby. There would also be a medical unit at hand to provide emergency care.

Owners of entertainment equipment should obtain no objection certificate. Failure to do so would invite action and seizure of equipment, the Collector said.

The Veerapandi town panchayat should ensure round-the-clock water supply. Garbage must be removed at regular intervals to keep the surroundings clean. Temporary toilets must be built for the convenience of visitors, he added.

Special buses

Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation will operate special buses to the temple from Chinnamanur, Theni, Periyakulam, Bodinaickanur, Cumbum and Thevaram. Traffic will be blocked on the Theni highway during the festival days. Buses passing through Veerapandi will be diverted through other roads.