Work on queue complexes and food court to be completed in next one year

Hardship faced by pilgrims at Sabarimala is likely to be minimised with the completion of various key projects in the next one year.

The high-power committee for implementation of the Sabarimala Master Plan and the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), administrative body of Lord Ayyappa Temple, have resolved to complete the queue complexes under construction at Saramkuthi and Marakkoottom in the first quarter of 2012.

The State-run Steel Industries Ltd., Kerala (SILK), has undertaken the fabrication work of the 57-metre-long, 10-metre-wide queue complex, estimated at Rs.1.1 crore, along the Marakkoottom-Sabaripeetom stretch. The high-power committee is directly monitoring the project.

Similarly, the 80-metre-long, 20-metre-wide queue complex project at Sabaripeetom, estimated to cost Rs.1.1 crore, is being directly implemented by the TDB works department.

Half the work on both the projects was completed by October. However, the contractors failed to finish it before the start of the pilgrim season owing to incessant rain in the forests.

Talking to The Hindu, M. Rajagopalan Nair, TDB president, and K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary and high-power committee chairman, said their attempt was to provide maximum pilgrim facilities at Sabarimala in a time-bound manner.

Mr. Nair said the proposed Appam-Aravana complex and a food court would be completed in the next one year.

The proposal was to construct a modern Aravana and Appam preparation and sales complex near Malikappuram at an estimated cost of Rs.16 crore. The complex site had been identified near the landing centre of the proposed ropeway.

Mr. Nair said a food court to house hotels and Annadanam halls and kitchens would be constructed near Malikappuram at an estimated cost of Rs.6 crore.

All the 11 hotels spread across Sannidhanam had been shifted to Paandithavalom this year to address the solid waste problem at Lower Tirumuttom and surrounding areas, and it had yielded positive results. The TDB was for shifting all hotels and eateries at Sabarimala under one roof by constructing a modern food court with a proper waste disposal system, he said.

Valiyanadappanthal

Mr. Jayakumar said L&T had finalised the logistical and technical details of the Valiyanadappanthal project so that work could begin immediately after the culmination of the Mandalam-Makaravilakku season in January. The project, estimated to cost Rs.27 crore, would be completed before October, Mr. Jayakumar said.

Larsen & Toubro Ltd. had been entrusted with the construction of the double-storey Valiyanadappanthal at the Sannidhanam under the sponsorship of GMR group of companies, Mr. Jayakumar said.

G. Mahesh, chief architect of the Chennai-based Pithavadian and Partners Ltd., has designed these projects at Sabarimala.

Ropeway

Mr. Jayakumar said the proposed ropeway project would be launched in 2012.

He said RITES had conducted a techno-feasibility study on the ropeway project and its environment impact assessment too was under way.

He said RITES would be the technical consultants of the high-power committee for the ropeway project.

Construction of a three-storey pilgrim shelter (‘Virippanthal') was another major project that would be implemented at the Sannidhanam in the next year.