Miscreants target Ponkala, water supply disrupted
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 25 : Water supply to the City was disrupted as miscreants allegedly damaged pipes bringing water from Aruvikkara, making it difficult for about four million women, who converged here to offer Aattukal Ponkala tomorrow.
Following the incident, an emergency Cabinet meeting discussed the issue this evening and directed the Water Authority to ensure that the water supply should not be interrupted in the wake of Ponkala festival.
Briefing on Cabninet decisions, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said a four-member Commission with former chief secretary K Jayakumar as chairman has been constituted for inquiring into alleged sabotage of drinking water supply to the city in the wake of Ponkala festival.
Other members of the commission are ADGP Chandrasekharan, Chief Technical Engineer Abraham Joseph and Chief Engineer Water Authority C Supre.
He said 'the situation is now under control and Attukal Pongala will not be affected in any way. The possibility of a sabotage cannot be ruled out, as there were four bursts in the same pipeline but to comment on that now would be premature.' Hoping that repair works on bursted pipes would be completed with in 10 to 20 hrs, he said 25 lakh litres of water was in stock at PTP Nagar Reservoir.
As many as 50 water tanker lorries have been pressed into the service to ensure effective water supply at various places in the city as 29 wards have been declared as the Ponkala Festival Zone. The festival has found a place in Guinness Book of World Records for largest participation of women.
'Though leaks were detected at four places, pipes supplying water to Aattukal temple area were not damaged. The District Collector has been entrusted to ensure smooth supply to places near the temple,' he added.
A control room was set up at the Water Authority office here with helpline numbers (2322674, 9447976622, 47638184, 8547638181) to ensure water supply based on the requests from the public, he said.
The Chief Secretary would be responsible for coordinating various activities of different departments, he said.
This year's Attukal Pongala, the largest annual gathering of women devotees in the world, will be held at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple here on February 26.
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, one of the ancient temples of South India, is popularly described as 'Sabarimala of the Women,' as women form the major part of the devotees. Women, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, would descend on the city to perform the annual ritual of Attukal Pongala to the presiding deity of Attukal Temple.
The Pongala ritual will begin at 1015 hrs. The ritual comprises cooking of rice-jaggery mix in fresh earthen pots as the devotees' offering to Goddess Bhagavathy, seek her blessings for year-round peace and prosperity.
Later in the afternoon, the cooked offering will be sprinkled with holy water by Priests, marking conclusion of the ceremony. All security arrangements have been made and 5000 policemen were deployed in the place. Lakhs of additional devotees, many of them from outside the state especially of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, are expected this year for the Pongala.