With hardly 40 days left for the Makaravilakku festival at Sabarimala, a major proposal to renovate the historic Sathram building at Laha on the Mannarakulanji-Chalakkayam main trunk road is yet to take off allegedly owing to the inordinate delay in getting official indifference for the same.

The small house, Laha Sathram as it is called, is a main halting point of the royal entourage carrying the sacred attire, Thiruvabharanam, from Pandalam Palace to Sabarimala for the Makaravilakku fesival every year.

The Sathram is believed to have been gifted to the Forest department by the king of the erstwhile Pandalam royal dynasty. The old building is now in a dilapidated condition due to lack of proper maintenance and repair works over the past several years.

The Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom as well as the Thiruvabharanam Path Protection Council leaders have been urging the Government and the Forest Department for renovating the historic Sathram building since the past several years but to no avail.

Collector intervenes

Meanwhile, the District Collector, P.Venugopal, has taken special interest in the issue and has directed the Divisional Forest Officer in Ranni to prepare a detailed project report for the renovation of the Laha Sathram a few months ago.

The Ranni DFO, R.Kamalahar, has prepared a project proposal, estimated at Rs 5.9 lakhs, for the renovation of the Sathram and submitted the same to the Collector in October who, in turn, had promptly forwarded to the Government for necessary action the next day itself.

The proposed Sathram renovation project also included provision of safe drinking water, toilets, refreshment corner and resting place for pilgrims accompanying the Thiruvabharanam procession, said Mr Venugopal.

He said the Government would provide every possible basic facility to the pilgrims accompanying the Thiruvabharanam procession to Sabarimala. He said the renovation work would be commenced in a time-bound manner itself, once the district administration get the official and financial clearance for the same.

ABASS blames Government

Meanwhile, ABASS Ranni unit president, P.K.Rajagopal, alleged that the inordinate delay in repairing the dilapidated Laha Sathram was a testimony to the Government’s casual approach towards providing basic pilgrim facility and ensuring the safety of pilgrims there.

Mr Rajagopal has called upon the Devaswom Minister, V.S.Sivakumar, to take necessary steps to renovate the Laha Sathram on a war footing basis so a to complete the work in the first week of January, 2012, itself. The Thiruvabharanam procession is expected to reach Laha Sathram on January 14 evening, he said.