With the Attukal Pongala set to be celebrated in a full-fledged manner for the first time after the COVID-19 outbreak, the Thiruvananthapuram city Corporation is in the final stages of putting in place all arrangements for the festival.
Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Mayor Arya Rajendran said that the civic body had conducted five meetings and carried out periodic reviews regarding the implementation of the decisions taken in these meetings.
Steps had been taken to complete all the road maintenance work as well as work on streetlights in the city. A total of 25 tanker lorries had been arranged to provide drinking water to devotees. The Corporation had spent ₹5.16 crore for road maintenance work. An amount of ₹70 lakh was spent for various works of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). The civic body had also allocated funds for cleaning and waste management purposes, the Mayor said.
The Corporation has mandated registration for voluntary groups planning to organise food distribution as part of the Pongala. The registration can be done on the Smart Trivandrum mobile application or through the website on https://smarttvm.tmc.lsgkerala.gov.in/pongala/registration. The printed registration certificate has to be displayed in front of the food distribution counter or the vehicle used for distribution. Till now, 201 groups have registered.
The Corporation will enforce the green protocol for the festival this year too to ensure environment-friendly celebrations. The voluntary organisations and residents associations that are involved in food and drinking water distribution should not use plates or cups made of plastic, multi-layer plastic, thermocol or paper, or any other disposable material. Those distributing drinking water should avoid bottled drinking water. The water to be distributed has to be kept in large vessels and distributed in steel tumblers. Decorations as part of the festival should be done using environment-friendly materials. The civic body has appealed to the devotees to bring their own plates and tumblers to avoid littering. They have also been asked to leave behind the bricks used to prepare the hearth as these will be used for various housing projects.
Arrangements have also been made to clean up the city streets within hours of the completion of the festivities. A total of 2,200 sanitation workers and 130 supervisory officials have been tasked with the job. In addition to the Corporation’s own sanitation workers, the Lorry Owners and Drivers Association, Hotel and Restaurants Association, Catering Owners Associations and various voluntary organisations have offered their cooperation in the clean up activities. Following complaints that some vendors are providing pots coated with red oxide and other chemicals to improve the appearance, the Corporation’s health team has carried out random checks and collected samples.