Forest department launches clearance drive

The Kerala State Electricity Board has made elaborate arrangements to ensure uninterrupted power supply to Sabarimala, Pampa, Nilackal and on the traditional trekking path during the annual Mandalam-Makaravilaku festival that begins on November 16.

Talking to The Hindu here on Thursday, KSEB Chief Engineer (Transmission), K. Radhakrishnan, said an additional 66 kV power feeder has been set up between Kochu-Pampa and Triveni as a precautionary measure in case of any technical snag in the existing 66 kV feeder on the stretch.

He said the Deputy Chief Engineer, A. Podiyan and Executive Engineer, P.K. Prasannakumar, will directly monitor the arrangements for the annual pilgrim season.

Mr. Podiyan said as many as 10,000 fluorescent lamps would be installed at Pampa, Sannidhanam, Nilackal and along the trekking path, besides 200 halogen lamps and 200 sodium vapour lamps, during the pilgrimage season. He said the board was ready to provide more lighting facilities as and when required on the request of the police and the Travancore Devaswom Board.

Mr. Prasanankumar said the board would provide mobile charging facilities to pilgrims at Pampa, Nilackal, Sannidhanam and various other base camps during the festival season.

The Chief Engineer has convened a meeting of KSEB officials here on Thursday afternoon to review the arrangements being made for the Sabarimala festival. A task force would conduct periodic patrolling of the transmission lines passing through the forest areas.

According to him, steps have also been taken to reach electricity from both Pallom and Moozhiyar, besides directly transmitting power from Kakkad power house to Pampa-Triveni in case of an emergency situation.

KSEB has installed as many as 47 power transformers at Pampa, Sannidhanam and Nilackal, besides 160 kVA transformers at Pampa Hill-Top.

Meanwhile, KSEB sources here allege that the TDB is yet to act on the proposal to lay 11kV transmission cables between Pampa and Sannidhanam as an alternate arrangement to reach electricity to the holy hillock in case of a technical problem disrupting power transmission through the existing 11kV line along the traditional trekking path.

The estimated cost for the proposed project was Rs. 30 lakh, sources said.

Shrub clearance drive

The Forest department has launched a shrub clearance drive along the Plappally-Chalakkayam stretch of the Mannarakulanji-Pampa main trunk route to Sabarimala on a war footing.

According to Forest department sources at Plappally, volunteers of the Eco Development Committees (EDC) attached to the Ranni Forest Division have started cutting the shrubs and other undergrowth of trees standing on either side of the Sabarimala Road with a view to complete the work by November first week itself.

EDCs have also been clearing the fire lines on the wayside as a precautionary measure to check wild fire due to excessive human intervention in the reserve forests during the annual two-month-long Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival that begins on November 16.