Team assesses feasibility, L&T to take up the project

Larson & Toubro (L&T) Ltd., a construction major, has agreed to undertake the pilgrim-friendly Valiya Nadappanthal (sheltered walk) project at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam, K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary and Chairman of the High-power Committee for Implementation of Sabarimala Master Plan, said here on Sunday.

An eight-member team of experts from L&T and the GMR Group reached the Sannidhanam on Sunday to assess the technical and operational feasibility of the Rs.25-crore project.

Mr. Jayakumar told The Hindu that G.M. Rao, chairman of the GMR Group and committee member, and he had held discussions with the L&T management some days ago. Mr. Rao had promised assistance for the time-bound execution of the project.

Mr. Jayakumar said that as hardly three months were left for the monsoon, starting the work now was not advisable, as it would require the demolition of the existing Nadappanthal. Hence, the idea was to mobilise the materials required in 10 months and start the work immediately after the Makaravilakku festival on January 20, 2012 and complete it by July-August the same year.

The expert team comprised S. Venkatesh, joint general manager; A.K. Singh, deputy general manager; and Prasanth, design manager; all from L&T, and Harikrishnan Diwan, general manager (tendering); L. Ravi, chief project officer; P.S. Nair and Govindan Sreedharan, chief executive officers; and Anand, executive administrator; all from the GMR Group.

Mr. Jayakumar; V. Sasi, Travancore Devaswom Board member; K. Ravikumar, Chief Engineer of the board; Jolly Ulas, Executive Engineer; and G. Mahesh, architect of Pithavadian and Partners, accompanied the team.

Mr. Jayakumar said relocation of the Prasadom Complex and improvement of systems, construction of an exit bridge to Chandranandan Road, a food and commercial centre, modification of the Viri Pandal (shelter) and a ropeway terminal are the other projects to be implemented at the Sannidhanam on a priority basis.

He would soon approach the governments of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, seeking their active cooperation in extending more pilgrim facilities at the Nilackal base camp as part of the master-plan implementation.