A high-level meeting, held by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, has decided to stop spot booking at Sabarimala for three days in the wake of heavy rainfall warning issued for various districts in the state, including Pathanamthitta.
"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," said CM Vijayan.
The Chief Minister said the district collectors could decide whether to give holidays to schools in rain-hit districts.
"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," said CM while speaking at a meeting of officials, including district collectors, convened to discuss issues related to heavy rains.
The Red Alert has been declared in Ernakulam, Idukki and Thrissur districts. Kaki and Idukki dams have been opened. Monitoring has been intensified in various dams managed by the electricity and water departments.
There are currently three teams of the National Disaster Response Force in the state. The fourth team will arrive tomorrow morning. Two teams of Defence Security Corps are ready to go to 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," said Mr Vijayan.
Ministers MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, AK Saseendran, K Krishnankutty and Roshi Augustine were also present. Officials, including VP Joy, police and fire chiefs, and representatives of various forces spoke at the meeting.