TDB requests Govt to increase the number of devotees allowed in Sabarimala
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) had said that it has sent a request to the State Government to relax the COVID norms, thereby increasing the number of devotees allowed in Sabarimala per day. The authorities further said the TDB is getting enquiries from pilgrims from outside the state seeking permission to visit Sabarimala, especially with the current mandala season.
Apparently, the TDP also issued an order stating after Lord Ayyappa pilgrims, a COVID-19 negative test report has been made mandatory for those working in temporary shops operating in Sabarimala and the temple premises now.
With the annual pilgrimage season progressing at the Lord Ayyappa temple here, a high-level committee, which reviewed the arrangements made for devotees, took a decision in this regard on Monday. The meeting, led by Additional District Magistrate Arun K Vijayan and Police Special Officer B Krishnakumar, evaluated that the pilgrimage was progressing well adhering to COVID-19 protocols and the hill temple was fully prepared for more devotees arriving here in the coming days.
Among many significant decisions taken, the high-level committee resolved to make stringent the COVID-19 protocols at Sannidhanam (temple complex) and premises of the shrine. The COVID-19 protocol committee would be expanded further, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) officials said after the meeting.
Besides pilgrims, the officials on duty also should follow the COVID-19 protocols strictly. Social distancing should be followed at the Sannidhanam and nadappanthal, the rest area, they said.
"Employees of temporary shops, operating in Sabarimala, should produce COVID-19 negative test result. The certificates of disinfection of shops are also made mandatory," they said adding it was also decided to carry out sanitisation at hourly intervals in the area.
Directions were given to forests officials to take adequate precautionary measures to reduce the increasing menace of wild boars. In the wake of viral infection reported at the temple complex when a temporary TDB staff had turned COVID-19 positive recently, adequate safety measures had been taken and there was nothing to be worried now, they said.
The annual two-month-long Mandala-Makaravilakku season at Sabarimala began on November 16, adhering to strict Covid- 19 guidelines. It is the first annual pilgrimage season at the hill temple after the coronavirus outbreak.
(with inputs from PTI)