KOCHI: Aluva Manappuram is all spruced up for the Maha Sivaratri festival, which will be the first one to be celebrated after the floods that wreaked havoc in the state. The deluge had wrought a lot of damage to Sree Mahadeva Temple at Aluva.
According to S Sridhar Sarma, administrative officer, Sree Mahadeva Temple, the roof of the temple and the ghat where the bali rituals are performed were badly damaged. “We carried out massive reconstruction work and have managed to bring the Manappuram back to its former glory. Various facilities have been set up for the comfort and convenience of the devotees who will be thronging the banks of Periyar to offer bali,” he said.
“We are expecting more than 10 lakh pilgrims this year. In order to help devotees offer bali without any hassle, we have set up 178 ‘balipeedoms’ along the banks of the river. Steps have also been taken to make the ghat accident-free, and steel railings have been installed to help devotees take a dip in the water,” he said. According to him, potable water stations have been set up at various places at Manappuram. “The speciality of the water being provided is that it is medicated. This will ensure nobody suffers from any health issues. Also, counters have been opened to provide food to the devotees,” he said.
According to Sridhar, Sivaratri this year will be green protocol compliant. “We have been carrying out campaigns and advertisements about the need to adhere to the green protocol. The aim is to keep the Manappuram and also the river from getting polluted,” he said. According to him, the devaswom had sought support from all the government departments for the smooth conduct of the festival. “All the departments have extended their help and everything is going on smoothly,” he added.
Tight security cover
Sridhar said: “In order to prevent any untoward incident, the Police Department will be deploying around 1,400 cops.” The department has also set up a control room at the Manappuram in order to ensure the safety of the pilgrims. “The control room will start functioning 24x7 from Monday and will continue till the fair associated with the Sivaratri festival concludes,” said a police officer.
Women civil police officers have been deployed at Manappuram. The police have also set up cameras as part of enhanced surveillance against anti-social elements. Besides, a special squad comprising police officers in mufti has been constituted to spot pickpockets. Emergency services including ambulance are made available at Manappuram.
Regulations in place
Street vendors will not be allowed within 50 m of the temple. The municipality area has been declared a begging-free zone. Liquor sale and consumption are prohibited in Aluva town.
Metro to extend service
The Kochi Metro has decided to extend the train services on Monday by an additional three hours. The Metro will run services till 1 am on Tuesday. On Tuesday, it will start the service one hour in advance, ie at 5 am.