The Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom (ABASS) and the Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajom (SASS) have called upon the government to take immediate steps to provide basic facilities to the pilgrims taking the traditional routes via Pullumedu and Karimala leading to the Sannidhanam.
In separate statements issued here on Friday, ABASS vice-president D. Vijayakumar and SASS general secretary Kummanam Rajashekharan said the pilgrims were put to untold hardship on the Pullumedu path due to the absence of basic facility along the 22-km stretch of the forest path between Kozhikkanam and Sabarimala.
Mr. Rajashekharan said that neither the Forest Department nor the district administration had taken any step to supply even drinking water to pilgrims on the Kozhikkanam- Uppupara- Pullumedu- Paandithavalom forest path.
The pilgrim inflow from Kumily to the Sannidhanam through the Pullumedu route had shown manifold increase for the Makaravilakku festival.
According to Mr. Vijayakumar, the Forest Department had turned a deaf year to the ABASS request seeking permission for opening a pilgrim amenity camp at Uppupara, as in the previous years, to supply food and medicated drinking water to the devotees. The Sanghom camp at Uppupara had been a great solace to the pilgrims, he said.
Though the District Collector of Idukki had promised to provide all basic facilities to the pilgrims taking the Pullumedu route, no effective step had been taken to provide even drinking water to the pilgrims, he alleged.
Several groups of pilgrims from Chennai too had given a mass petition to the Collector but to no avail, he said.
Mr. Rajashekharan sought immediate intervention of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Forest Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar in the matter. He said the Forest Minister should take necessary steps to check the alleged vandalism of Eco Development Committees that run various eateries on the Karimala path.