AGENCY Thiruvananthapuram: As the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple is all set to be opened for the annual pilgrimage season, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday took stock of the preparations being carried out by various departments and the Travancore Devaswom Board to ensure a hassle-free pilgrimage. The hill shrine would be opened for the over two-month- long Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival season on November 17. A high-level meeting, attended by ministers, MLAs, devaswom board representatives and IAS and IPS officials besides the CM,reviewed various aspects,including availability of safe drinking water, medical, toilet and travel facilities, pollution control, security, repairing of roads and so on. A total of 300 medical staff have been deployed at the hill shrine and premises for the pilgrimage season, an official release said here. Besides, the existing Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses, an additional 379 services would be launched during the festival season, it said. Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran, who detailed various preparations at the meeting, said ‘edathavalams’ (halting places for devotees) were all ready. MLAs Raju Abraham and E S Bijimol, Chief Secretary Tom Jose, DGP Loknath Behera and Devaswom Board president A Padmakumar were among the participants in the review meeting.
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