Trivandrum: The Thiruvananthapuram Division of Southern Railway has made elaborate arrangements for the convenience of Sabarimala pilgrims and passengers during the Mandala Makaravilakku Festival commencing on 16.11.2018. The division has facilitated multipronged arrangements including special trains, accommodation and security arrangements to cater to the needs of the pilgrims during the ensuing season.
For the convenience of passengers, additional counters at booking offices and reservation centres will be opened at Chengannur and Kottayam. Moreover, an additional PRS counter will be opened at Pamba. An additional round the clock reservation counter will be opened at Kollam. Staffs from other divisions of Southern Railway have been deputed to work in these additional booking and reservation counters and information centres and special trains, in addition to the staff of the division.
Halting facility to cater to approximately 500 pilgrims at Kottayam and approximately 600 pilgrims at Chengannur at a time has been provided.
Assistance booths for KSRTC, District Collector, Travancore Dewaswom Board, Police Department, Medical Department have been provided at Chengannur and Kottayam.
Additional catering stalls and platform vending will be provided at Kottayam and Chengannur.
Special seasonal permits have been issued for taxi vehicles in addition to the normal permits at Ernakulam, Kottayam, Chengannur and Thrissur to cater to the additional people coming to these stations.
Safety and Security Arrangements:
In order to improve the security arrangements at railway stations and on trains, about 220 RPF officials are mobilised from Railway Protection Special Force and other divisions of Southern Railway. This includes one woman Inspector, one woman Sub-Inspector, two woman Sub-Inspectors and 31 lady constables. Ex-servicemen will be deployed at Chengannur and Kottayam railway stations for bandobust duty. Special security scheme will be implemented at Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam South, Ernakulam North, Thrissur, Guruvayur, Thiruvananthapuram central and Kanniyakumari railway stations.
Pilgrim Assistance Booths will be functional at Chengannur and Kottayam railway stations and will be manned by RPF personnel round the clock. Quick Reaction Teams will be available at these stations to react swiftly in case of any untoward incident. A Crime Prevention and Detection Squad will be based at Chengannur. Anti-sabotage checks will be conducted utilizing the services of the Dog Squads of RPF.
Effective coordination will be maintained with Government Railway Police and Local Police. Trains will be provided with RPF escort. In addition, All India Security Helpline No.182, a toll-free number, will be available round the clock to provide assistance to passengers.