The temple town of Tiruvannamalai is gearing up for the Maha Deepam festival to be held on December 6 as the district administration has identified 23 vulnerable spots, especially on the girivalam path, to provide adequate security to visitors, who are mainly devotees.
Along with Minister for Public Works E.V. Velu, Minister of Charitable Endowments P.K. Sekar Babu inspected the town, including the 14-km-long girivalam path, as part of the preparations for the mega festival on Tuesday. “Apart from additional buses, 14 special trains would also be operated for the festival,” Collector B. Murugesh said.
Basic amenities like 209 water taps, including 51 ROs, 423 toilets, 1,218 streetlights and 33 high mast lamps with over 100 dust bins, are made available in the town, especially around Arunchalaeswarar temple and the girivalam path. To ensure cleanliness of the town during the festival, 2,925 sanitary workers have been roped in.
Police have identified 23 sensitive spots in the town where 266 CCTV cameras, including 97 on girivalam path, have been installed to ensure safety of visitors. Police have also set up 57 watch towers at intersections, busy stretches, entry and exit routes of the town and girivalam path with 35 help desks to help visitors including foreign tourists. On an average, around 25 lakh visitors are expected to come to the town during the fortnight-long festival that will be held between November 27 and December 6.
Nine temporary bus terminals that can operate 2,692 special buses have been set up. Besides, 100 free shuttle services between the terminus and the temple will also be operated using school and private buses for the purpose. The district administration has also fixed autorickshaw rates during the festival. Auto rickshaw charges up to a distance of 2.5 km per person is fixed at ₹30 and ₹50 for beyond.
The town will also have 18 medical teams, 25 ambulances including 10 bike ambulances during the festival. A total of 26 vehicles and 600 fire fighters will also be pressed into service. As the temple is surrounded by thick reserve forests, 150 forest officials will monitor any trespass into forest areas during the festival.