The drying up of river Pampa in the scorching sun has exposed the criminal negligence of the authorities concerned in keeping the river clean of filth.
The riverbed of Pampa is now a mucky bed of filth. All sorts of dirt, which include human waste, stinking clothes abandoned by the pilgrims, plastics and what not, have been accumulated on the river. Devotees close their nostrils while pass by the Arattu kadavu-Njunangar stretch of the Pampa bathing ghats.
The summer showers are sure to take this hazardous filth to the thickly populated river basin in the downstream reaches, posing alarming public health risk.
State Pollution Control Board authorities who are bound to closely monitor the pollution status of river Pampa as per an order of the Kerala High Court 15 years ago have left this main base camp of Sabarimala pilgrims as soon as the culmination of the Makaravilakku pilgrim season on January 21.
Neither the Travancore Devaswom Board nor various Government agencies concerned have taken notice of this grave issue for reasons best known to the authorities concerned, leaving the common people as well as the scores of Ayyappa devotees coming from different parts of the country at the receiving end.
And not to speak of the health threat to the wild animals that quench their thirst with the filthy Pampa waters in the summer months.
If at all the Kerala State Electricity Board releases water from the Kullar dam to raise the water level in the Pampa bathing ghats to facilitate the customary holy dip, ‘Pampa-snanom’, for the pilgrims, they have to undertake the dip in this filthy waters that have been blocked inside the check-dam constructed in the downstream of Arattu kadavu.
Interestingly, the TDB has been engaged in the annual practice of awarding contract to collect the clothes and other waste threw into the Pampa by the devotees, little efforts have been taken by the board to ensure effective implementation of the work by the contractor.
This year, the TDB has awarded the contract for carrying out the cleaning work in Pampa for a hefty sum of Rs 30 lakhs, official sources said.
With 10 days left for the annual festival and 20 days for the Aratt ceremony in river Pampa, the authorities are yet to take steps for the safe disposal of the filth.