The Additional Chief Secretary, K. Jayakumar who is also the Chief Commissioner of Travancore Devaswom Board, said the board was planning to prepare a detailed lay-out plan of various components of the proposed Masterplan for Sabarimala by engaging a professional body.

Mr. Jayakumar was addressing a high-level meeting attended by Devaswom Minister, Kadannappally Ramachandran, Health Minister, P.K. Sreemathy, Water Resources Minister, N.K. Premachandran and the Forest Minister, Binoy Viswom, at Pampa on the foothills of Sabarimala on Sunday.

The meeting reviewed the arrangements being made by various government departments as well as the TDB for the smooth conduct of the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season at Sabarimala that begins on Monday.

Mr. Jayakumar said various development schemes to be implemented at Sannidhanam, Pampa, Nilackal, Vadasserikara and Erumely will be included in the proposed lay out plan, making it a comprehensive development project aimed at improving the basic pilgrim facility at Sabarimala as well as various major camps.

Inaugurating the meeting, earlier, Devaswom Minister said the government nd the TDB have taken every possible measure to improve the facilities for pilgrims at Sabarimala as well as various base camps during the annual pilgrim season.

Mr. Jayakumar said an estate committee would monitor the functioning of various commercial establishments like shops and eateries at Sabarimala and Pampa during the pilgrim season. This is besides the price monitoring squads and quality control squads deployed at the pilgrim centre with a view to check fleecing of pilgrims.

As many as 650 new toilets and 40 bathrooms have been constructed at the Sannidhanam, Pampa and along the trekking path and the credit for its time-bound completion goes to the TDB staff at Sabarimala, especially the works department, he said.

He said the water storage capacity at Sabarimala has been enhanced in view of the ever increasing pilgrim influx to the pilgrim centre year after year.

Aravana buffer stock

Mr. Jayakumar said the stock of Aravana at the devaswom godown has crossed 20 lkh cans (250 ml each) as on Sunday and effective steps have been taken to ensure the quality of Aravana and Appam. The Appam stock at Sabarimala was 2.5 lakh on Sunday, he added.

Annadanam

TDB would serve breakfast, mid-day meals and supper to al pilgrims at its Annadanam hall at Sannidhanam and Pampa during the pilgrim season, besides the free mid-day meals scheme for pilgrims at Erumely, Mr. Jayakumar said.

He said a shower bath facility has been set up on the banks of the Erumely canal to minimise the pollution of canal waters during the pilgrim season.

Police force

Additional Director General of Police, Chandrashekharan, said as many as 1600 police personnel have been deployed at Sabarimala and Pampa in the first phase of the two-month long pilgrim season.

Mr Chandrashekharan said a company each of Rapid Action Force attached to CRPF and National Disaster Response Force would also be deployed at Sabarimala during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival.

Addressing the meeting, Mr N.K. Premachandran said Kerala Water Authority has prepared a Rs 60-lakh drinking water scheme for Erumely.

He said the government has also moved the Centre for implementing the second phase of the Pampa Action Plan.

He said the capacity of the sewage treatment plant at Pampa would be augmented and a new treatment plant with 5 mld capacity would be set up at the Sannidhanam as part of the proposed pollution abatement scheme for river Pampa.

Mr. Binoy Viswom stressed the need to ensure protection of the sacred grove by making the pilgrimage eco-friendly. He also promised active co-operation on the part of the Forest department in improving the pilgrim facility at Sabarimala.

Healthcare

Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy has inaugurated the Cardiology Centres at Appachimedu and Neelimala-Top in the forenoon. Dr Dinesh Arora, Chief Health Co-ordinator and Mr Manoj Joshi, Health Secretary were also present.

Ms. Sreemathy said a CT Scan unit would be set up at Pathanamthitta General Hospital by the next pilgrim season. Mr Raju Abraham, Mr K.C.Rajagopalan, MLAs, Mr P.V.Nalinakshan Nair, Devaswom Commisioner and heads of various departments also spoke.