Rapped by the high court for inadequate measures that led to the death of 102 Sabarimala pilgrims, Kerala government today filed an affidavit stating that it would draw up an action plan for disaster prevention and develop the Nilakkal base camp to help regulate the entry of devouts to the shrine.

The high power committee for implementation of Sabarimala Master Plan had identified few projects for better crowd management which would be completed by next season, the affidavit, filed by K Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary, who is also the Home, Vigilance and Devaswom Secretary, said.

Development of Nilakkal as base camp and providing better facilities for pilgrims would help contain the pilgrims there and regulate their entry to the hill shrine at Sabarimala, thronged by millions every year during the two—month pilgrimage season from mid—November.

Creating additional space at ‘Sannidhanam’ (sanctum sanctorum) by constructing a two storeyed walkway, building an exit overbridge behind the temple, shifting the ‘Prasadam’ complex, improving facilities and safety at the points at which pilgrims congregate to watch ‘Makarajyothi’, believed to be a celestial light, were among the projects.

The government would hold consultative meeting with National Disaster Management Agency, State Disaster Management Agency and other experts and devise safety measures on the truck and other routes, the affidavit said.

The government told the court that the exact sequence and events leading to the tragedy at Pullumedu will be clear only after the crime branch investigation was complete.

Government also said 279 police personnel and forest officials had been deployed in the Pullumedu area.

After the tragedy, the state government had pressed into service all facilities for rescue operations and to ensure that pilgrims are able to leave the place without difficulty.

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