Heavy rush at Sabarimala makes crowd control tough task

Last Updated: Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 13:40

Sabarimala: Just three days into the
two-month-long pilgrimage season, the Ayyappa temple of
Sabarimala has been witnessing heavy rush making it a tough
task for the police and other agencies to manage the crowd
and traffic.

Since the dawn of the auspicious month of Vrishchikam of
the Malayalam calendar yesterday, devotees in thousands have
been flocking to the hillshrine outstripping the rush in
the initial days of the `Mandala` season in previous years,
temple officials said.

The pilgrims, mostly from different southern states, had
begun to trek to the temple atop the Sabarihill from the
base camp on the banks of the river Pampa since the evening
of November 16, when the temple portals were opened for the
season.

Though over 1500 police personnel have been deployed for
the opening phase, the highflow of pilgrims has made the force
presence insufficient.

According to police sources, the situation would be reviewed
at the earliest and more forces would be requisitioned to
cope up with unexpected onrush in the first week of the
pilgrimage itself.

Similarly, the heavy rush also upset the plans of the Kerala
State Road Transport Corporation, which runs the long distance
bus services as well as the chain services between Pampa and
main parking ground Nilakkal, where private vehicles are
stopped.

The first flow of home-bound pilgrims proved the number
of buses put into service inadequate. Transport Minister
Jose Thettayil has instructed KSRTC authorities to immediately
make available at least 100 buses to ease rush and aviod
home-bound devotees getting stuck at Pampa.

Despite the unexpected flow of devotees, distribution of
prasadams--appam and aravana--had gone on smoothly as
foolproof arrangements had been made for uninterrupted supply
well in advance,temple officials said.

Temple Affairs Minister Ramachandran Kadannapally and senior
officials of Trvancore Devaswom Board (TDB) had been present
at the hillshrine to oversee the arrangements on the opening
days.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 13:40

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