The Madras Engineer Group (MEG) of the Army completed a ‘Bailey bridge' on the proposed diversion road linking the Sannidhanam with Chandranandan Road on Wednesday.

Launching the bridge at an informal function at the Sannidhanm on Wednesday, Anto Antony, MP, stressed on the need to augment pilgrim facilities in tune with the increase in the number of pilgrims visiting Lord Ayyappa Temple. The MP also emphasised the need to ensure foolproof security at the temple.

He lauded the effort of the MEG team in completing the work as per the schedule fixed by a High Power Committee (HPC) chaired by Additional Chief Secretary K.Jayakumar, so that the committee would be able to complete the diversion road project before the Mandalm- Makaravilakku festival beginning November 17.

Mr Antony said he would explore the possibility of setting up 200 electronic toilets along the Sabarimala trekking path and at the pilgrim centre with Central assistance.

It took two weeks for the MEG team to construct the bridge across a small check-dam near Malikappuram.

Brigadier Gurdeep Singh, MEG Commandant, accompanied by Col. Muraleedharan Nair and Major Jayakrishna Khelkar, inspected the 40-metre-long and 3.3-metre-wide bridge constructed at a cost of Rs.75 lakh.

The MP distributed sweets to workers and jawans, showering accolades on the MEG team. Shyamaprasad, Assistant Engineer with the Travancore Devaswom Board, was present.

The HPC will carry out the beautification work and lighting of the bridge along with that of the diversion road. The diversion road, when completed, will be used as an exit route for pilgrims with a view to easing human pressure at the Sannidhanam during the pilgrim season.

The design of the 240-metre diversion road estimated to cost Rs.122 lakh had been done by the Chennai-based Pithavadian and Partners Limited. The diversion road is a combination of ramps and steps and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is expected to commission it before the beginning of the Mandalam season.

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