Maha Shivaratree 2023 will be celebrated on Saturday 18 February. This Hindu festival is celebrated annually in reverence of Lord Shiva. The preparation has already started. Prime Minister Jugnauth underlined that the meeting aims at reviewing the different arrangements being undertaken by the different Ministries and departments. He pledged that Government will take on board the proposals raised by the various socio-cultural representatives so that the pilgrimage is held smoothly next year.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, Minister of Tourism, Mr Louis Steven Obeegadoo; the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo; the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy; the Minister of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo; the Attorney-General and Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin; the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Recreation, Mr Jean Christophe Stephan Toussaint; the Minister of National Infrastructure and Community Development, Mr Mahendranuth Sharma Hurreeram; the Minister of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Soodesh Satkam Callichurn; the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal; as well as representatives from Governmental institutions and socio-cultural associations were present to discuss and share proposals as to the advent of the festival. The aim is to ensure that the festival is held in the best possible conditions.
Arrangements and major works being undertaken
The concerned authorities present gave updates regarding the numerous arrangements which will be made for, namely: resurfacing of roads and construction of footpaths; provision of street lighting along roads; provision of transport facilities including the Metro; supply of water and electricity and provision of water tanker service; distribution of plastic bins; installation of medical posts on a 24-hr basis; and road markings to be carried out.
Moreover, Police Officers will be deployed and stand-by teams from the Central Electricity Board, Central Water Authority, Wastewater Management Authority, Local Government, and Ministry of Health and Wellness, will be present on that day.
Furthermore, Minister Jeewa-Daureeawoo indicated that upgrading works will be carried out at Grand Bassin and on 25 sites around the country. She added that some 1,600 plastic bins will be distributed. The roads from La Marie to Petrin will also be cleaned, she said.
As for Minister Gobin, he underlined that the Agricultural Marketing Board will place orders for fruits, vegetables and coconuts while adding that they will be sold at fixed prices.
Dr Jagutpal, for his part, highlighted the need to sensitise the pilgrims on the sanitary aspects and the medical services that will be put at their disposal. He urged Mauritians to take all necessary precautions to avoid food poisoning.
During the meeting, the relaunching of the Traffic Watch app, which provides real-time information of the traffic situation, was discussed. The Police, for their part, stated that from 13 to 18 February 2023, they will be mobilised at Grand Bassin to ensure fluidity of traffic as well as the security of pilgrims.
Representatives from socio-religious organisations also raised several issues. They include timely provision of tents and mobile toilets; maintenance services for toilets; and provision of a ‘No Smoking’ sign at the entrance of Petrin.