`Elaborate arrangements made for pilgrims'

TIRUCHI, MARCH 3. The railways have spent around Rs. 90 lakhs to provide passenger amenities and other safety measures in connection with the `Mahamaham' festival at Kumbakonam.

Stating this at a press conference held here today, the Divisional Railway Manager, N.S. Kasturi Rangan, said the Tiruchi railway division had made elaborate arrangements to provide necessary facilities to pilgrims thronging the town.

Elaborating the measures taken as part of increasing the amenities at the Kumbakonam railway station, he said 36 water tanks had been set up all over the station keeping in mind the huge crowd, besides sinking four additional borewells to ensure adequate water supply.

A total of 120 semi-permanent toilets and bathing cubicles had been established in the vicinity of the station. As many as 500 chairs had been put up at different places in the station in addition to existing chairs at the platform. A total of 100 water taps had been provided.

Medical facilities had been provided to attend to any emergency situation. Services of St. John Ambulance of the railways along with scouts were being utilised for healthcare, he said adding that the medical department had geared up to ensure clean atmosphere.

He said security arrangements had been made in coordination with the State police, Railway Protection Force and Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF). Security personnel have been stationed at vantage points in tracks and at Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam railway stations. Three companies of RPSF had been deployed for the festival.

A surveillance system had been set up in the Kumbakonam railway station with 16 channels. The situation was being monitored with the help of ten cameras fitted at vantage points in the station. The cameras were linked to the server at Kumbakonam and uploaded to the railnet due to which the happenings in the stations could be seen live in Tiruchi, Chennai, Delhi and wherever railnet services were available in digital mode, he said.

The DRM said the railway authorities had made a request to the pilgrims to avoid roof travel in trains. Instructions had been given to the driver and the guard to stop train in case pilgrims travelled in roof.

For the benefit of the pilgrims and travelling public, unreserved ticketing system had been introduced in connection with the festival. He said 10 pairs of trains will be operated from tomorrow between Thanjavur and Kumbakonam of which two would be from Tiruchi.