The inordinate delay on the part of the Finance Department in transferring the budget allocation of Rs.25 crore for Sabarimala development to the account of the High Power Committee for implementing the Sabarimala Master Plan has put the development works at South India’s famous pilgrimage centre in jeopardy.
According to sources in the Secretariat, the Finance Secretary (Expenditure) has rejected the Revenue-Devaswom department’s plea for fund transfer on flimsy grounds.
Addressing an official meeting at Pampa in connection with the launching of the Clean Sabarimala project a year ago, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Finance Minister K.M. Mani had stated that the government had allocated Rs.25 crore for implementing the Sabarimala Master Plan. Mr. Mani had said that “funds will never be a problem for Sabarimala development.’’
Each and every project proposal in the Sabarimala Master Plan has been cleared by the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Kerala has been closely monitoring the project implementation. It was the High Court that had appointed the HPC for the effective implementation of various Master Plan projects.
The government had made a budget allocation of Rs.15 for Sabarimala development in 2011-’12 and the amount was duly credited to the HPC account on the directions of the then Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar.
However, this time, the Finance Secretary has rejected the plea for fund transfer saying that each and every project component to be implemented as part of the Sabarimala Master Plan needed vetting by the Finance Department.
The Secretariat sources said the stand taken by the official was absurd and amounted to contempt of court.
The inordinate official delay in transferring the fund would affect the implementation of many an important pilgrim amenity project at Sabarimala.