The high-power committee for implementation of the Sabarimala Master Plan launched work on four major projects, estimated at 7.85 crore, at Sabarimala on Thursday.
Devaswom Commissioner P. Venugopal and Travancore Devaswom Board member Subhash Vasu told The Hindu that every possible arrangement has been made to ensure completion of all the four projects well before the beginning of the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season beginning mid-November. Chennai-based Pithavadian and Partners Limited (PPL), consultants of the HPC for various development projects at Sabarimala, has prepared detailed project estimates and designs for all the four projects, said Mr Venugopal.
An underpass linking Chandranandan Road with Swami Ayyappan Road at Marakkoottom, an elevated approach (flyover) linking the Malikappuram temple complex with Annadana Mandapam, a coconut-breaking area at Lower Tirumuttom, and a two-storey Annadana Mandapam are the four projects.
G. Mahesh, PPL architect, said the setting out of the site for the underpass was carried out on Thursday and the work began on Thursday itself. The 45-metre-long, eight-metre-wide, and four-metre-high underpass is estimated to cost Rs.90 lakh. The underpass, once completed, would ease congestion at Marakkoottom during the rush days of the pilgrim season.
Mr. Mahesh said the proposed elevated approach linking the Malikappuram temple premises with Annadana Mandapam, which is on the opposite side of the road, is aimed at easing pressure on the road. The project, estimated to cost Rs.30 lakh, would be completed by the first week of November.
Mr. Venugopal said a safe and scientifically designed coconut-breaking area, on either side of the pathway leading to the holy 18 steps at Lower Tirumuttom, will avoid jostling of pilgrims for the customary breaking of coconuts before ascending the steps. It will be constructed in the next two months at a cost of Rs.65 lakh.
The TDB member said Sunil Swami of the Kollam-based Sabari Group of Companies has sponsored the proposed two-storey Annadana Mandapam near Malikappuram. The modern Annadana Mandapam, in 21,500 sq ft, is estimated to cost Rs.6 crore. The mandapam will be completed in the next three months.