Move to reduce height of temple mast opposed

The Palliyoda Seva Sanghom (PSS), organisers of Uthrittathi Vallamkali, has condemned the technical committee report of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) as well as the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (KITCO) recommending reducing the height of the mast of Sree Parthasarathy Temple as part of the proposal to set up a private airport at Aranmula.

In a statement here on Tuesday, PSS president N.P. Sankaranarayana Pillai, and secretary Ratheesh R. Mohan said the village of Aranmula was known for its rich cultural heritage. People cutting across religious barriers nurture a feeling of oneness rooted in this rich culture and civilisation and the annual snakeboat regatta held in connection with the anniversary of idol installation at the temple was a testimony to this.

The PSS leaders said the holy mast at the temple was regarded as the tallest mast at any temple in India.

It had great significance, almost equal to the idol, as per the temple architect and nobody could even think of making any alteration to it, they said.

The very fact that the architects of the proposed private airport project had even thought of such a grievous offence itself had exposed the very intention of its promoters to destroy this rich culture and heritage, Mr. Mohan alleged.

The PSS leaders called for the intervention of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the issue and initiate steps to abandon the controversial airport project without any further delay in the larger interests of protecting the cultural heritage of Aranmula and its ancient temple.

A copy of the project report prepared by KITCO (obtained from the Pathanamthitta Collectorate through Rights to Information Act) said that ‘‘due to the presence of Parthasarathy Temple on approach 16, the threshold is required to be displaced by 285 metres.

In future, if it is possible to lower the height of the temple pole, it could be possible to bring the threshold back to the beginning of the runway.’’

Similarly, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) expert team that had inspected the project site on July 2, 2012, too had recommended lowering the height of the temple mast as well as the four hills situated on the boundaries of the project site.

The AAI report mentioned the temple mast and the hills as objects in the approach surface, forming obstructions to the runway of the airport.

The PSS leaders alleged that the proposed airport project was a challenge to the devotees as well as the people of Aranmula.

The people would oppose the anti-people airport project, they said.

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