Arrangements at Sabarimala reviewed

There is no question of restricting pilgrims to the sacred grove of Sabarimala situated in the buffer zone of the Periyar Tiger Reserve as whatever development work that took place there was with the knowledge of the Supreme Court and the Kerala High Court, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

He was addressing a high-level meeting at Pampa on the foothills of Sabarimala on Saturday to review the arrangements by various government agencies and the Travancore Devaswom Board for the smooth conduct of the forthcoming Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season that begins on November 16.

Allaying the apprehensions raised by various devotees’ organisations over the National Tiger Conservation Agency’s proposal to restrict entry of tourists to the tiger reserves across the country, Mr. Chandy said the Sabarimala Master Plan and allotment of land for executing various pilgrim amenity projects in the PTR were duly approved by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Chandy said the government had sanctioned Rs.75 crore for the repair and maintenance of 17 major roads leading to Sabarimala.

He said the government would inquire into the delay in executing various road development works and take stern against erring officials.

Mr. Chandy said a modern government hospital complex, estimated at Rs.15 core, would be constructed at Pampa. Another Rs.15-crore sewage treatment plant project would also be launched at Sabarimala soon. He said the foundation-stone laying ceremony of both the projects would be held in the first week of November.

The Chief Minister inaugurated the newly constructed queue complex at Sabaripeedhom and the Nadappanthal along the Pampa-Sannidhanam path on the occasion.

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