Teams were deployed in Jallikattu hotspots to prevent the conduct of the event

With a steep rise in the daily cases of COVID-19, the district administration in Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Ranipet and Tirupattur, have banned the conduct of Jallikattu events, ahead of Pongal festival, as part of safety measures. A large group of Jallikattu enthusiasts gheraoed the Vellore Collectorate a few days ago, seeking permission from Collector P. Kumaravel Pandian, to organise the event during the festival.

As the daily cases touched 295 in Vellore on Sunday, the administration has banned the event by directing revenue officials and police to prevent any such activities, especially in remote villages of the district.

“During the pandemic, such large public events are automatically banned to prevent the spread of the infection. Special health and police teams were formed to check any violations on COVID-19 norms,” Ranipet Collector D. Bhaskara Pandian told The Hindu.

Special revenue and police teams were also deployed in Jallikattu hotspots like Arani, Polur, Chengam, Cheyyar and Vandavasi to prevent the conduct of the event in remote villages, especially along Jawadhu Hills in Tiruvannamalai during the festival. After meeting with the event organisers, the revenue divisional officers (RDOs) also got a written undertaking from the organisers in these areas that they will not hold such events due to the pandemic.

Shops relocated

Shops at crowded towns in the Ranipet district, including Arcot, Walajah, Arakkonam, Ranipet town and Sholingur, are allowed to operate with adequate social distancing. On an average, a 20-30 feet distance between each shop in these markets, with social distancing circles at the shopfront, have been planned. Mobile health and police teams will be patrolling these congested spots. Currently, 3,750 beds in hospitals are available with seven COVID-19 care centres, covering all seven taluks in the district.

The neighboring district of Tiruvannamalai, the largest among the four, had a series of meetings with traders and small businessmen on relocating the existing market to the outskirts of the temple town.

Accordingly, the common market for flowers and vegetables will start functioning from two playgrounds from Monday, with one opposite to the Municipal office and another near the Gandhi Nagar Bypass Road in the town. Tiruvannamalai Collector B. Murugesh inspected these temporary markets, which will accommodate 340 shops, including 150 flower shops.

“Basic amenities like water, toilets, bus services and public addressing systems, were provided in these markets. From Monday (January 10), devotees will be allowed to visit Arunchalaeswarar temple, only after showing two doses of vaccination certificate,” said Tiruvannamalai SP A. Pavan Kumar Reddy.

Peaceful lockdown

Meanwhile, the complete lockdown in all the four districts on Sunday was peaceful. Around 2,750 police personnel were deployed for enforcing restrictions. Each barricaded checkpoints had a team of four policemen in these districts. Only emergency services and competitive examinations, with valid documents, were allowed. Essential services like milk, food delivery by online portals, parcels from hotels and pharmacies were allowed to operate.

A total of 253 patrolling teams were involved in ensuring zero violation on lockdown restrictions in theVellore. “Travelers, except for medical services, were asked to return at six border checkposts in the districts. Drones were also roped in to ensure 100% compliance,” said Vellore SP S. Rajesh Kannan.

Helplines for issues related to COVID-19, including availability of beds, were also introduced in Tirupattur and Ranipet. The helpline numbers for Ranipet are 04172-273188; 04172-273166; 9489668833; 9443093916 and the ones for Tirupattur are 04179-222111; 04179-220020; 04179-226666; 04179-229008; 04179-1077. .

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