WITH some two million people expected to throng the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves in Gombak, Selangor, over the next few days in conjunction with Thaipusam, the local authorities are ramping up preparations to cater to the crowd.
With the easing of Covid-19 rules, a bigger crowd is expected at the temple grounds just as traders, too, will be making a return to the festival.
Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) president Datuk Mohd Yazid Sairi said emphasis would be placed on waste management and enforcement throughout the festival period.
The council has allocated RM150,000 to manage waste and cleanliness around the temple compound, he disclosed.
“This is twice the amount compared to previous years, as we expect more waste will be generated this time.
“We have appointed contractors specifically to handle rubbish collection,” he said after chairing the full board meeting yesterday.
Mohd Yazid said waste collection around the temple would take place from Feb 1 to 14.
“We urge visitors to dispose of their waste responsibly and at designated sites.
“The stalls selling food and drinks are also encouraged to place rubbish bags near their stalls, which they can then tie up to be picked up later,” he added.
Roll-on-roll-off bins will be placed in 10 locations with 240-litre mobile rubbish bins placed in 50 spots.
In 2019, it was reported that MPS collected 150 tonnes of waste, which included milk bottles used to fill up milk pots (paal kudam) carried by devotees, plastic packaging and broken coconut shells.
On enforcement, Mohd Yazid said its full force of 160 enforcement personnel would be on duty over five days beginning Feb 3.
“Only traders who have been given temporary licence by MPS will be allowed to operate at specific locations outside the temple compound.
“Only vegetarian food is allowed to be sold and there is a strict ‘no alcohol’ rule,” he said, adding that MPS was working with the police and other agencies to ensure a smooth and safe Thaipusam celebration.
The last time traders were allowed to operate during the festival was in early 2020, just before the start of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.
Thaipusam will be celebrated by Hindus in Malaysia on Feb 5.