10 projects to improve amenities for pilgrims short-listed

In an effort to improve amenities for pilgrims to Sabarimala and ensure their safety, the Sabarimala Infrastructure Development Fund Trust Board will carry out development works costing Rs.100 crore before the next pilgrimage season.

Briefing reporters here on Sunday after a meeting of the Board, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Devaswom Secretary K Jayakumar said 10 projects had been short-listed on a priority basis and discussions were held on means to finance these proposals.

He said priority would be given to developing the base camp at Nilackal through expansion of the vehicle parking capacity and building a check- dam to augment water storage capacity. Pilgrim vehicles will be stopped at the spot and chain services will be operated from there to Pampa.

Provisions will be made to establish resting places and related facilities for pilgrims at Nilackal so that they can leave for the shrine depending on the crowd situation.

He said separate entry and exit would be constructed for the pilgrims and the the Appam- Aravana complex would be relocated accordingly.

As part of crowd- management measures, more queue complexes will be set up in the area so as to ease the congestion for darsan during the season.

Regarding the financing of these projects, Mr. Jayakumar said proposals were being worked out to raise funds for financing the schemes and plans were also afoot to explore the option of securing sponsorships to implement some of the major projects.

“Dhanalakshmi Bank has already offered to give a loan offer of around Rs.50 crore and we are now looking for more loans and grants,” he said.

The official web site of the Board, developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), will become operational next month and the option of raising money through the web site will be explored.

Chief patrons of the Board Arijit Pasayath; Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair; Devaswom Ombudsman Bhaskaran; and Travancore Devaswom Board president Rajagopalan Nair were among those who attended the meeting.

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