“The crowd management system at Sabarimala has been considerably improved, compared to the previous year. However, the existing system required further improvement, considering the steady increase in the number of devotees visiting the pilgrim centre every year,’’ said Mr. P.S. Balakrishnan Nair, Senior Commandant of the National Disaster Response Force, Arakkonam Battalion.

The NDRF Senior Commandant, accompanied by Mr. Deepak Dev Menon and Mr. S.R. Jayakrishnan, Company Commandants at the Sannidhanam and Pampa respectively, was addressing a press conference at the Devaswom Administrative Complex at Sabarimala on Thursday.

Mr. Nair said the NDRF has already submitted its report to the Union Home Ministry detailing certain suggestions for better crowd management at Sabarimala.

He said things have improved a lot at Sabarimala, compared to 2008. The NDRF is in the service of Ayyappa devotees at Sabarimala, he added.

A 120-member NDRF company has been deployed at Sabarimala and more forces would be provided as and when necessary.

The NDRF has already opened camps at Pampa, Marakkoottom, Saramkuthy U-Turn and at Valiyanadappanthal and another camp will be opened at Paandithavalom during the Makaravilakku festival.

Mr. Nair said the State government has proposed the setting-up of a full-fledged battalion of the NDRF in Kerala and the Union government has reportedly agreed in principle to the State’s proposal. It requires 125 acres of land for setting up a full-fledged battalion of NDRF and the State has to facilitate the land, he added.

Mr. Nair also visited different parts of Sabarimala before leaving for Arakkonanam, later, in the afternoon.