New Delhi: Amid heavy rainfall warning in several districts, the Kerala government on Sunday (November 14) declared to close spot booking at Sabarimala for three days.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting of officials, including district collectors chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The meeting was also attended by state ministers MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, AK Saseendran, K Krishnankutty and Roshi Augustine.
“When the Sabarimala temple reopens, it will be difficult to allow more pilgrims to enter. The Pamba river is turbulent due to heavy rains. The availability of drinking water and bathing water is also a cause of concern. So the meeting decided to limit the number of people to Sabarimala in the next three to four days. Pampa bathing is not allowed as the water level is dangerous. Spot booking will be temporarily stopped. The government is considering to change the date for those booked via a virtual queue to control the number of people,” ANI quoted the Kerala CM as saying.
The doors of the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala are scheduled to open on November 16 marking the beginning of the two-month-long annual pilgrimage season.
Vijayan directed officials to ensure sanitation and food availability in the relief camps. “Special attention should be taken of those living in relief camps. People’s representatives, local government representatives and officials should pay special attention to the cleanliness of the camps. Food availability and screening system should be ensured,” he added.
A red alert has been declared in Ernakulam, Idukki and Thrissur districts. Kaki and Idukki dams have been opened, and monitoring has been intensified in various dams managed by the electricity and water departments. For rescue and relief operations, currently, three teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the state, while one more team will arrive on Monday morning. Two teams of Defence Security Corps are on standby and will visit Kannur and Wayanad districts if required. “There have been seven landslides since November 10. People should be relocated to camps from landslide-prone areas. Fishing has been banned and a warning has been issued. Police and fire department officials are ready to deal with any sort of emergency,” the Kerala CM assured.
On Saturday, torrential rains caused minor landslides and disruption of train services in some parts of Kerala, leading to authorities sounding extreme caution in hilly areas, river sides and tourist centres.
Meanwhile, schools and colleges have been closed by the district collectors of Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, and Kasargod on Monday due to heavy rains. Nedumangad and Kattakada taluks in Thiruvananthapuram have also declared a holiday for schools and colleges on Monday. University examinations in all the southern districts have also been cancelled due to heavy rainfall.
(With agency inputs)