450 MVD officials to be deployed for round-the-clock surveillance; 18 squads to patrol 11 corridors
A 450-strong contingent of Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) officials will be deployed for round-the-clock surveillance of 400 km of vulnerable roads spread over Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Idukki districts leading to Pampa and used by Ayyappa devotees proceeding to Sabarimala during the Mandala-Makaravilakku season.
As many as 18 squads of the MVD, each headed by a Motor Vehicle Inspector, will patrol the 11 corridors as part of making the roads accident-free during the November 17-January 20 pilgrimage season as part of the Sabarimala Safe Zone 2019-2020 project of MVD and Kerala Road Safety Authority.
In addition to the 18 enforcement squads that will work on an eight-hour shift, another three squads headed by senior MVD officials will also be deployed.
A Quick Response Team will be stationed at the main control room to be set up at Elavumkal, near Nilackkal.
Vehicles ferrying devotees to Pampa and Erumely during the festival season will be tracked from the main control room and two other sub-control rooms at Erumely and Kuttikanam.
Of the 18 squads, eight will be based at Elavumkal, four at Erumely and six at Kuttikanam.
Separate squads, including mechanics, will be stationed with vans and spare parts to tackle any crisis in the 80 km in dense forest.
All the patrolling vehicles will be equipped with the wireless sets, Vehicle Tracking System and Global Positioning System (GPS) to provide feed to the control room, and for rescue and relief operations in case of breakdown of vehicles, accident or medical emergency.
Ambulances and two cranes of the MVD will be based at the main control room at Elavumkal.
In Erumely and Kuttikanam, mechanics from the local workshops will be roped in for assistance in case of breakdown of vehicles, sources said. Within five minutes of a distress call or alert, the nearest patrol vehicles will reach the spot to render assistance.
“Last year, 3.5 lakh km were patrolled by us and 8,090 breakdown vehicles were repaired. Three deaths were reported in Kuttikanam sector,” says the Special Officer, Safe Zone project, Sunil Babu P.D.
The pamphlets in six languages containing the road maps and mobile numbers for assistance will be made available in the inter-State checkposts, toll booths and en route pilgrim centres.
Joint Transport Commissioner Rajeev Puthalath said the government would provide ₹90 lakh of the ₹96 lakh sought this year for the project.
Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran will launch the functioning of the project on November 12 at Elavumkal.