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Considering the gravity of the COVID-19 situation, public will not be allowed to participate in the Thrissur Pooram festivities. Only organisers will be permitted to the venue. A meeting of Devaswom representatives and government officials convened by the Chief Secretary on Monday took the decision. People will not be allowed to enter Swaraj Round on Pooram day. Sample fireworks will be held symbolically with one Kuzhiminnal (a kind of firework).
The duration of Kudamattom, in which both participants — Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu Devaswoms — will showcase colourful parasols in a friendly competition, will be cut short. People will not be allowed for Kudamattom too.
No decision has been taken on the main fireworks. As all fireworks have already been prepared, the decision to cancel the display will be difficult. PESO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation) has given permission for the fireworks. Cheru Poorams, the procession of the eight other participating temples, can enter the Pooram venue. Here too, only organisers will be allowed.
Madathil Varavu and Ilanjithara Melam, two main events of percussion ensembles, also will be held without Pooram lovers. As only organisers will be allowed to enter the Pooram venue, the issuance of Pooram passes has been stopped.
The Thiruvambadi Devaswom took the decision to conduct Pooram symbolically using just one elephant. “Though we had completed the entire preparations for the Pooram, we have taken the decision to conduct it symbolically, considering the safety of people. Only one elephant will be used for all the rituals, right from Madathil Varavu procession to Kudamattom and Upacharam Chollipiriyal. People’s safety is our prime concern,” said Thiruvambadi Devaswom sources. Paramekkavu Devaswom, however, will parade 15 elephants.
Organisers and mediapersons have to carry COVID-19 negative certificate or vaccine-taken certificate to enter the Pooram venue.
Earlier, the Chief Secretary had appointed a medical team led by Kerala University of Health Science Vice Chancellor Dr. Mohanan Kunnummel to advise on conduct of Pooram. The decision to avoid people from the venue was taken on the basis of the report submitted by the medical team.
There has been huge criticism on social media against conduct of Pooram with usual celebrations in the wake of spurt in COVID-19 cases. People observed that controlling the crowd at the Pooram venue will be impossible.
Thrissur Collector had ordered the cancellation of the church festival of St. Joseph Church, Pavaratty and festival of Koodalmanikyam Temple, Irinjalakuda, two other important festivals of Central Kerala, too.
A total of 1,388 COVID-19 cases were reported in the district on Monday.