The Legislative Committee on Environment is holding its sittings in Sabarimala this week and pollution in the pilgrimage centre, particularly in the sacred grove facing the shrine, is a major cause for concern.
The Assembly panel chaired by Rajaji Mathew Thomas will hold a sitting at Pampa and Sannidhanam on Wednesday and Thursday.
The committee will begin by visiting the sewage treatment plant of Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) at Cheriyanavattom and the water treatment plant of Kerala Water Authority at Pampa-Triveni.
STP at Pampa
According to State Pollution Control Board sources at Pampa, the sewage treatment plant at Cheriayanavattom is yet to be made operational. Repair and maintenance work is still held up.
Official sources said the existing capacity of the sewage treatment plant was grossly inadequate to meet the needs at the base camp of Pampa, taking into consideration the huge quantity of waste generated at the toilet complexes at Pampa and surrounding areas during the annual pilgrim season.
Moreover, the TDB has added four more blocks of latrines at Pampa recently, with out taking the inadequate capacity of the plant there.
The Assembly panel will inspect the sanitation mechanism at the pilgrim centre, as well as the solid waste disposal at the three incinerators installed near Malikappuram.
Though the TDB has initiated certain pollution abatement measures at Sabarimala and Pampa as prescribed in the Sabarimala master plan prepared by the Delhi-based Ecosmart India Limited, absence of a sewage treatment plant has been causing problems at the Sannidhanam.
A fact that needs immediate attention is that the waste water draining out from Malikappuram and surrounding areas passes through the area near the temple pond, Bhasmakkulam, in which devotees take their customary holy dip.
Due to the lack of facilities, the services of the 600 odd workers attached to Sabarimala Sanitation Society, chaired by District Collector, are rendered inadequate. This is another issue likely to be brought up in the Assembly sittings.
District-level heads of the departments of Revenue, Environment, Local Administration, Health and Family Welfare, Electricity, Forests and Wildlife, Home and Water Resources and TDB officials will attend the sittings. MLAs, K.V.Abdul Khader, Mons Joseph, M.Hamsa, Roshy Augastin, V.D.Satheesan, Murali Perunelli, K.P.Mohanan and M.M.Yousuf, are the other members of the Assembly panel to visit Sabrimala.