Sannidhanam: Nine days after the start of Mandalamakara Vilak Mahotsavam, Sabarimala is thronged with Ayyappa devotees. As of 9 am on Friday, more than 400,000 Ayyappa devotees had visited. An average of 100,000 people visit each day. Last year, an average of 10,000 people visited on these days. Figures on Virtual Queue Booking indicate that the rush will increase in the coming days. A total of 8,79,905 (Eight Lakhs Seventy Nine Thousand Nine Hundred Five) people have made bookings through the virtual queue system till November 30.

November 26 and 28 are the most booked dates. 26 Saturday 83,769 (Eighty Three Thousand Seven Hundred Sixty Nine) and 28 Monday 81,622 (Eighty Thousand Six Hundred Twenty Two). These days have the highest number of bookings till November 30. November 21 saw the highest number of darshan so far – 57,663 (fifty seven thousand six hundred and sixty three). At present maximum bookings are accepted at 1,20,000 per day.

No matter how much the number of devotees increases, the presence is ready

Although more traffic is expected at Sannidhanam in the coming days, departments including the police are already ready with adequate arrangements. According to the current arrangements, there will be no problem even if one and a quarter lakh devotees come for darshan every day. Krishnakumar informed. Increasing the darshan time to morning and evening has made Ayyappa darshan easier. He said that by making the virtual queue system mandatory for Darshan, the congestion could be controlled at a reasonable rate.

systems including mobile testing lab; Food Safety Department with caution

The Food Safety Department is on alert with systems including mobile food testing labs for quality control on the occasion of the Mandala Makara Lamp festival. 4 special squads have been constituted for inspection at the places working related to the food sector. Special squads are located at Sannidhanam, Pampa, Nilakkal, Laha and Erumeli. In Nilakkal and Erumeli sections, the inspection is conducted by women officers.

Sannidhanam has a designated officer, a food safety officer and an office staff. Primary quality of food items will be checked in mobile food testing lab. If further tests are required, the samples will be sent to Pathanamthitta Food Testing Lab and Thiruvananthapuram Government Analytical Lab. The quality of appam and aravana is checked in the food testing lab at Sannidhanam itself.

The quality of the raw material for the production will be checked at the lab at Pampa. The squad conducts inspections at regular intervals at Appam, Aravana plants, Annadanamandapam, office mess etc. Food safety registration/license is mandatory for all establishments. Food safety training and certification course certificate should be mandatory for at least one person in an organization as per FSSAI directive. A toll-free number for devotees to report their grievances has been displayed in all the establishments. Along with this, a booklet containing guidelines to ensure food safety has been provided to all establishments.

Food safety inspection has been tightened

As part of the Mandala Makaravilak Utsav, food safety checks have been tightened at Sannidhanam, Pampa and Nilakkal. So far 272 inspections have been conducted in the places under the jurisdiction of Pathanamthitta District Food Safety Assistant Commissioner. 187 samples were collected. 10 firms found to be deficient have been issued notices to collect fines. Warning notices were also issued to 5 institutions.

149 inspections were conducted in Erumeli, which falls under the jurisdiction of Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety, Kottayam. 25 samples were collected. So far 33 warning notices and one penalty notice have been issued. Officials of the Food Safety Department informed that further inspections will be conducted in the coming days and the complaints received will be investigated with urgency and action will be taken.

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