K. Jayakumar says the immediate requirements at the pilgrim centre have been considered

The high-power committee for implementation of the Sabarimala masterplan will soon re-prioritise various key projects planned at Sabarimala, considering the immediate requirements at the pilgrim centre, said committee chairman K. Jayakumar.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr Jayakumar said cleanliness and hygiene at the prasadom preparation unit would be ensured. The construction of a state-of-the art appam-aravana preparation, packing, and distribution complex would be given priority over the proposed double-storey Valiya Nadappanthal at the Sannidhanam.

Mr. Jayakumar said a modern sewage treatment plant would be built for safe disposal of the waste generated at Sabarimala. The third priority, in his opinion, should be construction of a ropeway to transport material between Pampa and the Sannidhanam.

Valiya Nadappanthal

The double-storey Valiya Nadappanthal project is likely to materialise only later. The HPC has decided to construct the Nadappanthal before the next pilgrim season with a view to easing crowding at the Sannidhanam.

Two construction majors, Larson and Toubro and the Hyderabad-based Ramky, have reportedly qualified the technical bid for the Valiya Nadappanthal project. Though Ramky had submitted the entire documents demanded by the HPC, L&T was yet to carry out the vetting of their project report by a competent agency, according to official sources.

Sources said L&T had quoted Rs.26 crore for completing the double-storey pre-fabricated steel structure in seven months while Ramky had quoted Rs 29.6 crore for the same.

Mr. Jayakumar said the HPC meet to be held in the last week of December would re-prioritise the projects.

‘Sarana-sethu’ project

Mr. Jayakumar said pilgrims seemed to be hesitant to take the return route from the Sannidhanam through the Sarana-sethu constructed at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore, in spite of the fact that it was meant to divert the route on their return journey to ease crowding at the holy hillock. Sources said the Bailey Bridge, coupled with the steep terrain, had made the pilgrims avoid the route. Mr. Jayakumar said the HPC proposal was to construct a 120-metre long bridge linking two small hills, which would not have created such a steep gradient on the route. However, the military engineering group had reduced the length of the Bailey Bridge to mere 40 metres.

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