The Yatri Nivas on Panchakarai on the banks of the Kollidam in Srirangam has been converted again into a COVID care centre.
The move assumes importance in the wake of a steep rise in number of positive cases in Tiruchi over the last three weeks. The management of Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, which owns the facility situated on 6.40 acres, has made it available to quarantine, asymptomatic and mildly infected patients.
After the city campus of Bharathidasan University at Khajamalai and Government College of Engineering at Sethurapatti, which served as COVID care centres in March last, were converted ino care centres again, opinion was divided on using Yatri Nivas, a popular pilgrim guest house, for treating COVID-19 patients.
However, according to sources, the steep surge in cases has forced the district administration to bring the facility under its control to accommodate patients again. The move is perceived as a compassionate and much-needed step in protecting the lives of people against the COVID-19.
Yatri Nivas has been handed over to the district administration to accommodate patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19, S. Marimuthu, Joint Commissioner, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, told The Hindu.
A portion of the facility, mainly dormitory block, has been opened for patients. It can be used until the situation improves. “We as temple administrators cannot shy away from our responsibility when people are facing an unprecedented crisis. Hence, the facility has been opened up for mildly infected patients,” Mr. Marimuthu said.
A group of staff members, including electricians and plumbers, have been posted to offer help. Online and offline booking have been suspended from April 25. Pilgrims, who have booked rooms for the next three to four months, have been intimated about the new arrangements and they will be refunded.
A senior revenue official says the guesthouse will start admitting patients from Wednesday. All arrangements have been made, including 500 new beds, for patients. The facility has sufficient number of toilets as well as facilities for visitors.
A 20-member group, including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff members, have been allotted duty at Yatri Nivas. Tiruchi Corporation would take care of the maintenance of the premises. Two Tahsildars have been posted for duty at the venue.
The Yatri Nivas, built at a cost of ₹.47 crore on 6.40 acres on Panchakarai on the banks of the Kollidam river, was declared opened by then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in 2014. It can accommodate about 1,000 devotees. The facility has 612 single rooms, 98 double rooms and 24 family cottages. It was aimed at providing budget accommodation to the devotees visiting Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple from different parts of the country.
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