The TDB has identified a few sponsors for a few projects
The Travanore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the High Power Committee (HPC) for Implementation of Sabarimala Master Plan will work in unison for implementing major pilgrim-amenity projects at Sabarimala in a time-bound manner, Subash Vasu, board member, has said.
Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Vasu said the TDB had already identified sponsors for a few mega projects and would assist the HPC in identifying more sponsors. The HPC technical committee visited Sabarimala on Sunday to review various proposals.
Mr. Vasu, who is also an ex-officio HPC member, held a meeting of the technical committee members at Sabarimala on Sunday, exploring the possibility of implementing various pilgrim amenity schemes in a time-bound fashion.
The expert team comprised A. Kasturirangan, V. Sivasankara Pillai, T.L. Shaji, all HPC technical committee members; K. Ravikumar, TDB Chief Engineer; V. Sankaran Potti, HPC coordinator; and G. Mahesh, architect and consultant of Sabarimala Master Plan.
Mr. Vasu said four three-storied Annadana Mandapams, exclusively to serve food of the four South Indian States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, were planned at Sabarimala Sannidhanam.
He said four devotees, S. Sudarsana Reddy from Andhra Pradesh, Kollam-based Sabari Group of companies, Vijay Jain of ESEMM Enterprieses, Bangalore; and a devotee from Malaysia had agreed to sponsor the four mandapams estimated at Rs.10 crore each.
He said the project design was ready and the sponsors were willing to launch the work at the earliest. Each Annadana Mandapam will have a modern kitchen, store, and a modern dining hall to accommodate as many as 4000 people, he added.
The TDB member said the HPC expert panel had also decided to construct an underpass linking Chandranandan Road with Swami Ayyappan Road, demolishing the foot overbridge that had been a hindrance for the free movement of wild animals.
He said a Nadappanthal with 10 self-contained inter-connecting compartments would also be constructed along the Marakkoottom-Saramkuthi path to facilitate a hassle-free crowd movement during the rush days of the pilgrimage season.
Similarly, the barricades inside the Valiya Nadappanthal would be rearranged with a view to easing pilgrim movement. Remodelling of the giant fireplace (Aazhi) at Lower Tirumuttom would be carried out before the next pilgrimage season. The entire Lower Tirumuttom would be rearranged with proper floor finish and barricading.
The site for coconut breaking would also be shifted from the close vicinity of the holy 18-steps to a suitable site near the proposed site for the Aazhi.
The TDB member said the board was for completely discontinuing with the practice of auctioning shops and other space for carrying out commercial activities during the pilgrimage season in a phased manner.
He said it was also planning to construct four Annadana Mandapams each at Pampa and Nilackal too where devotees could offer Anndanam as their offering to Lord Ayyappa. Mr. Vasu said the board and the HPC would seek the mandatory clearance from the Kerala High Court for implementing various development projects at Sabarimala.
He said the HPC meeting to be held in March would take a final decision on various development projects and chalk out a timetable for its implementation.