Discarded clothes and puja items used for performing rituals on the northern banks of the Cauvery at Amma Mandapam on the occasion of ‘Mahalaya Amavasya’ on Sunday caused concern among civic activists and authorities.
The bathing ghats at Veereswaram too were overcrowded with the visit of so many people. Several priests from faraway places, including Kallakurichi, Tiruvannamalai, Puducherry, Villupuram and Madurai, visited Amma Mandapam to perform pujas for people.
According to a rough estimate, more than 50,000 people visited Amma Mandapam and its neighbouring bathing ghats in Srirangam to offer ‘tharpanam’ to their ancestors on Sunday alone. It was said to be one of the largest congregations at Amma Mandapam in recent years.
What caused concern was the indiscriminate dumping of discarded materials. The place, where pujas were performed, looked bad with the accumulation of waste materials and clothes abandoned by the pilgrims. The people threw the discarded cloths, garlands, flowers and other puja materials at their will. The overnight rain also compounded the woes at Amma Mandapam.
“This is not the right way to maintain cleanliness in a place, which is considered holy. The Tiruchi Corporation should have put in place a comprehensive plan to prevent pollution of the river,” says M. Selvakumar, a resident of Srirangam.
P. Ravi, Assistant Commissioner, Srirangam, told The Hindu that people turnout was huge. The clean-up drive had begun shortly after the crowds and the priest left Amma Mandapam. A team of 60 sanitary workers was engaged. More than two truckloads of waste and discarded materials were removed from the spot.
The workers, who were deputed to drain out stagnating water in the low-lying areas in Mangamma Nagar, Mambazhasalai and a few streets around Sri Ranganthaswamy Temple owing to overnight heavy rain, had been asked to continue the clean-up operations in and around the bathing ghats.