13 bio-urinals to be installed on Swami Ayyappan Road

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has made necessary arrangements for the Makaravilakku festival that began on Monday, said Devaswom Commissioner P. Venugopal.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Venugopal said the TDB had a buffer stock of 11 lakh cans of ‘aravana’ and 6 lakh packets of ‘appam’ as of Sunday to meet the demand for Sabarimala prasadom during the festival.

Mr. Venugopal said 13 bio-urinals would be set up on Swami Ayyappan Road before January 5. The High Court of Kerala had in February directed the State government and the TDB to take necessary steps to provide adequate number of urinals, drinking water outlets, and proper lighting on Swami Ayyappan Road. The Special Commisioner appointed by the court had appraised the court about the absence of drinking water facility, urinals, and proper lighting on Swami Ayyappan Road during the 41-day Mandalam pilgrim season. The Chief Secretary too had pointed to lack of urinals and drinking water facilities at a review meeting at Pampa during the last lap of the Mandalam festival.

Mr. Venugopal said the Kerala Water Authority would lay waterlines on Swami Ayyappan Road.

Debesh Kumar Behara, Police Special Officer at Sabarimala, said stern steps would be taken to ban unauthorised vendors on the trekking path and at the pilgrim centre as part of the security arrangements.

Addressing the new batch of the police force at the Sannidhanam on Monday, Mr. Behra said the police personnel should adopt a pilgrim-friendly approach and take extra care not to hurt the sentiments of pilgrims.

He said steps had been taken to check theft and pick-pocketing at various camps of pilgrims.

A 43-year old policeman attached to the MSP Camp at Malappuram, Kookman Hakkim, who has been posted at the police mess at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam, was injured on Monday when a steam boiler at the kitchen exploded.

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