Chaos seems to be the buzzword at the 94th edition of the Indian Science Congress, which began on Wednesday.
Scientists and journalists had a harrowing time and were made to run from pillar to post to learn about their accomodation and food arrangements at the Annamalai University campus in Chidambaram, about 235 kms south of Chennai.
Dozens of speakers of the Congress, many of whom turned up with their family members, complained that they were neither provided proper food nor accommodation on their arrival at the venue late Tuesday night.
Mediapersons, who were initially offered accommodation at the venue, were later told that all the rooms had been allotted to the delegates. After a two-hour wait, they were were given a couple of rooms, which did not even have beds.
All hotel rooms and lodges in the town have already been fully booked and they had no other option to but to brave the winter chill and wait for dawn.
The delegates and journalists alleged that the officials in charge of provide accommodation 'disappeared' from the scene.
"I have attended several national and international science congress sessions and have not seen this kind of chaos ever," said a women delegate from the Department of Space.
Some scribes who left for Mayiladuthurai, about 45 km from the venue, in search of getting some kind of accommodation, were also left disappointed as they found all hotel rooms booked there too.
To add fuel to the crisis, several delegates and security personnel who took food from the food court at the venue started vomitting late in the night and had to be rushed to a hospital.
The organisers of the Congress, which is being held for the first time in a rural centre, seem to have no clue how to host such a big event, the delegates alleged.
Meanwhile, amidst tight security, people in large numbers visited the famous Nataraja temple on the auspicious 'Tiruvadura' day, when Lord Shiva is believed to have given darshan to devotees in his cosmic dance attire.
The temple, constructed by the Chola Dynasty, attracts large number of pilgrims on Tiruvadura day, and this too added to the rush in the little town.