THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sivarathri celebrations will be eco-friendly this year with the Aluva Manappuram and Travancore Devaswom Board deciding to enforce a ban on plastic carry bags and plastic water bottles.
The Sivarathri celebrations will begin on Friday night and the ceremonies will continue till Saturday morning.
As part of the environment-friendly steps, authorities will enforce a strict ban on bottled drinking water and soft drinks in plastic bottles, apart from a ban on plastic carry bags.
The authorities will supply boiled water flavored with ginger among the faithful during the occasion at various points. The authorities have also made elaborate arrangements including setting up 5,000 litre capacity containers on the banks of the river.
As part of Haritha Sivarathri, around two dozen bio-toilets will also be set up at the venue for the faithful. Priests have also been directed to use natural plantain leaf for Balitharpan rituals instead of plastic plates. The makeshift Balipuras that will be setup on the banks of the river will be seperated using plywood.
The banks of the Periyar which pass both sides of the the Mahadeva Temple will be dotted with over 250 ‘bali tharas’ and over 500 priests will assist the devotees in performing the customary rituals. The priests have also been directed to charge only Rs 50 for assisting the devotees. The rituals will begin with the midnight Sivaratri Vilakku.
There would be special arrangements like makeshift tents for women to change dress after the customary dip in the river. About 2,000-odd police personnel including 200 women CPOs, 164 sub inspectors, 30 circle inspectors and 10 DySPs would be deployed under the aegis of Ernakulam Rural SP for security cover to the rituals and celebrations.
Service of swimmers and experts from the police force along with support facilities such as boats and life jackets will be made available during the occasion. The rural police also said they have installed surveillance cameras along the river bank and neighboring places to monitor the crowd. The rural police have also enforced traffic regulation in the town in connection with the festival.