Devaswom Minister, Kadannappally Ramachandran, said the newly constructed cardiology centres at Appachimedu and Neelimala on the Pampa-Sannidhanam traditional trekking path would be inaugurated on November 10.

The Minister was addressing an official meeting at the Collectorate conference hall here on Monday to review the arrangements to be made by various government departments for the smooth functioning of the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival at Sabarimala that begins on November 16.

Mr. Ramachandran said the Kerala State Electricity Board would revise the electricity tariff for Sabarimala on the basis of the commercial and non-commercial activities as per the directions of the Kerala High Court in this regard.

He said the power tariff would be made non-commercial for the electricity supplied to the temple complex while commercial tariff will be applicable for various commercial units at the pilgrim centre.

Addressing the meeting, Mr. K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary, said the Health department should take steps to ensure better service at the cardiology centres at Sabarimala, especially in the backdrop of the strike by doctors at Medical Colleges.

According to the Director of Medical Education, specially trained general physicians would be posted at cardiology centres and other government healthcare centres at Sabarimala.

Insurance scheme

The Minister said the accident insurance scheme for pilgrims on the Nilackal-Pampa road would be extended to Erumely too.

He said the government would also explore the possibility of extending the insurance cover to various pilgrim casualties, including those due to cardiac ailments, at Sabarimala in consultation with the Life Insurance Corporation.

Mr. Jayakumar said Excise department and police should take effective steps to check liquor trade at the main base camps of Nilackal and Pampa as there were reports of rampant illicit liquor trade and various other anti-social activities taking place at these places during the annual pilgrim season. He said the Police department should explore the possibility of setting up a round-the-clock seasonal police station at Nilackal during the festival period.

He said the large number of empty liquor bottles found at the pilgrim centre during a cleaning drive a few months ago was testimony to the illicit liquor trade taking place there and the law-enforcing agency should be vigilant to check it.

Poor basic facility for cops

Addressing the meeting, Mr. A. Hemachandran, Inspector General of Police, stressed the need for improving the basic facility for policemen deployed at Sabarimala during the annual festival.

Though a high-level police team had inspected Sabarimala and submitted a detailed report on the immediate requirements of the police force at the pilgrim centre six months ago, the board was yet to take any effective steps in this regard, he alleged.

He said police would take steps to install close-circuit televisions at more points and telecast the photos of pilgrims who have been stranded in the heavy rush at Sabarimala during the festival.

Mr. Jayakumar said free restrooms would be provided at several points along the Marakkoottom-Sannidhanam Chandranandan Road in an effort to improve sanitation at the holy hillock.

Mr. Jacob Punnose, Director General of Police, Mr. G. Baburaj, IG, Mr. K.K. Chelappan, Superintendent of Police, Ms. K. Shylaja, Director of Health Services, Idukki Collector, Ashok Kumar Singh, Pathanamthitta

Collector, T.T. Antony and heads of various government departments addressed the meeting.