The first phase of the proposed retiring centre would be constructed at a cost of Rs 50 lakhs at Vadasserikkara

The Government as well as various devotees' organisations were bound to ensure   basic infrastructure facilities to the pilgrims coming to Sabarimala from different parts of the country, Raju Abraham, MLA, has said.

Mr. Abraham was inaugurating the work on a retiring centre for Sabarimala pilgrims at Vadasserikkara on Saturday. The first phase of the proposed retiring centre would be constructed at a cost of Rs 50 lakhs allotted from the MLA's Asset Development Fund, Mr. Abraham said.

He said pilgrims coming to Sabarimala from far off places should be treated with hospitality. The Government should take the necessary initiative to complete various pilgrim amenity projects at Sabarimala, Pampa, and Nilackal as part of the Sabarimala Master Plan in a time-bound fashion.

Presiding over the function, V.K.Rajagopal,  Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom State vice-president, said the Travancore Devaswom Board and the Government should provide necessary support to devotees' organisations like the Sanghom in their efforts to extend every possible help to the pilgrims coming to Sabarimala.

According to Mr. Rajagopal, ABASS is an organisation that came into being much before the formation of the Travancore Devaswom Board. He said the volunteers of ABASS used to escort the priests and devotees to the holy hillock of Sabarimala Sannidhanam through the dense forests heavily infested with wild beasts in olden days.

Even in the modern times, the Sanghom is the only organisation that serve free food and retiring facility to the weary pilgrims at Karimala in the dense forests on the traditional path leading to Sabarimala from Erumely, Mr. Rajagopal said.

He said ABASS had opened as many as 50 pilgrim centres across the State during the two-month-long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season.

Mr. Rajagopal has further called upon the Government and the TDB to extend necessary support and encouragement to the Sanghom for continuing its free food supply and other services to the pilgrims at Sabarimala.

The stretcher service of the Sanghom headed by Thanchavur Damodaran, has been a great solace to the ailing pilgrims at Sabarimala as well on the trekking path.

Rajamma Pushpangadan, grama panchayat president, delivered the keynote address. Prasad Kuzhikkala, P.R.Balan, and K.R.Ravikumar, office-bearers of ABASS regional unit, also spoke.

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