The Ombudsman for Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards R. Bhaskaran has called for urgent steps to mobilise funds for implementing the Sabarimala master plan.
In a report submitted to the Kerala High Court on Monday, Mr. Bhaskaran said the approximate amount for the implementation of the master plan came to Rs.500 crore. Though a trust was registered in 2009 and the Sabarimala Master Plan Infrastructure Fund created, the trustees or patrons had not met so far.
The preparation of layout plans for the Sannidhanam, Pampa and Nilackal and the construction of a ropeway and queue complex were in progress.
The Devaswom Commissioner had informed the Ombudsman that the Karnataka government had set apart Rs.5 crore in the State budget for Sabarimala pilgrims, probably for providing facilities to pilgrims from the State.
Donors to the fund would get 50 per cent Income Tax exemption. The Ombudsman suggested that a directive be issued for putting up advertisements on the income tax exemption. Besides, he sought a directive to the State government to nominate a reputed administrator to the trust. He suggested that a person well versed in financial matters suggested by the Chief Commissioner and the Devaswom Commissioner and decided by the High Court be included as a patron so that sponsors for the ropeway and queue complex could be identified. The Ombudsman also sought a directive to convene a meeting of the trust and patrons.
In another report, the Ombudsman suggested a study on a proposal to construct a dam at Kunnar, located 12 km from the Sannidhanam.
The Ombudsman suggested that a proper study be made on the project and, if viable, it should be implemented within a time schedule.