Lord Athi Varadar idol will be shifted to bigger place, says TN CM

Salem: Two days after four devotees lost their lives while waiting to have darshan of of Lord Athi Varadar, the Tamilnadu Chief Minister announced that the government was planning to shift the idol to a bigger place to make it easy for people to visit.

The ruling government faced a lot of criticism over the maintenance of the Kancheepuram temple. On Friday, four people died apparently due to suffocation at the Devarajaswamy temple, where the idol of Lord Athi Varadar is kept for public view once in forty years. Although the CM said that the victims had pre-existing health conditions.

Speaking to reporters, he said, “Yesterday a meeting of Ministers, Secretaries of Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments, Local Administration, Health and Revenue departments were held. In that meeting, issues faced by devotees who come to visit the temple were discussed. It was also discussed whether the idol can be shifted to a bigger place to manage the crowd.”

According to a media report, Chief Secretary K Shanmugam and DGP J K Tripathy visited the temple on Sunday to take stock of the situation.

Shanmugam reportedly said various measures were taken to control the crowd. 1,000 volunteers were appointed, medical teams have been increased and battery-operated vehicles provided for elderly.

Number of wheelchairs will be increased from 800 to 1,500, he said. Medical team has been asked to be deployed near the exit gate of the temple, and temporary parking facilities will be set up. Officials have been directed to audit fire safety measures on a daily basis, added the chief secretary.

NT Bureau