Govt for holding Thrissur Pooram, health officer against it

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Thrissur, Apr 11 (PTI) Difference of opinion on the conduct of the Thrissur Pooram, a festival known for a parade of richly caparisoned jumbos and performance of traditional music, has surfaced between the government and the district medical officer (DMO).

The government has said it was ready to hold the festival while the DMO is against it, citing the present COVID-19 situation.

The district Collector has written to the Chief Secretary to issue directions to hold the annual festival by referring to the government decision, which the DMO has opposed.

The DMO K J Reena on Sunday told reporters that she expects the government to rethink on its decision.

'I don't think any government will play with the lives of the people. If it does, we are inviting grave danger. We will have to re-open the COVID-19 FrontlineTreatment Centres. Our efforts of the last one-and-a-half-years will go waste,' she said.

On the other hand, Minister V S Sunilkumar told the reporters the festival would be held as per the COVID-19 protocol.

'The government is set to hold the Pooram this time. All the decisions have been taken after consulting with the Health Department. All the Devaswomsare cooperatingwith the government. The decision of the government is to conduct the Pooram,' he said adding that the crowd can be controlled.

Meanwhile, a Paramekkavu Devaswom representative said the decision was taken by the government after considering all the factors.

'We all know that a surge in coronavirus cases will come after the elections. That would have been factored in when the government took this decision. We wonder whythe DMO has second thoughts about this now,' G Rajesh, Paramekkavu Devaswom representative, told the reporters.

Last May, the Pooram was held in a low-key manner with just a handful of people and rituals in the temple.

Billed as the mother of all temple festivals in Kerala, the event was usually held at the sprawling Thekkinkadu Maidan in Thrissur city.

The two-century-old Pooram had its origin in 1798 through a royal edict of the then Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Shakthan Thampuran, a ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Cochin.

The edict entrusted two local temples -- Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady -- with the task to be the main sponsors of the festivities to be conducted in a competitive spirit.

Besides the main Poorams by the two Devaswoms, small Poorams from nearby temples too participate in the festivities. PTI RRT NVG NVG