Saturday, February 28, 2009

Police to enhance security for pongala

Thiruvananthapuram: Elaborate security arrangements have been planned for the smooth conduct of the annual Attukal pongala beginning on March 2.

Addressing a press conference at the temple trust office here on Thursday, Minister for Home Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said instructions were given to the police to tighten the security arrangements for the festival in view of the 'special circumstance.' As many as 2,500 policemen and 300 women constables would be deployed for the festival.

Closed circuit televisions would be installed to monitor the crowd movement and the places in and around the temple during the festival period. A 24-hour control room manned by senior police officials would be opened in the temple.

The Minister said the police would ensure the security of the pilgrims who arrived at the temple during the festival period and women who arrived for offering the pongala on March 10.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Thiruvananthapuram range, would supervise the security arrangements to be made by the City Police Commissioner and the Deputy Police Commissioner. The volunteers of the Janamaithri Suraksha would be roped in for the security arrangements, the Minister said.

To a request of the temple trust not to transfer the police officials posted for security duty for the forthcoming pongala, the Minister said the State government cannot intervene in it as it was the prerogative of the Election Commission.

V. Sivankutty, MLA, who was present at the press conference, said a meeting of residents' associations of corporation wards near the temple had agreed to the restrictions on the use of loudspeakers during night in view of the SSLC and Plus Two examinations.

Mr. Sivankutty said those who want to contribute food to the pilgrims should register their names with the local police station. The local people and social organisations had also been asked not to force the pilgrims to drink water and buttermilk

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