The work on the underpass at Marakkoottom is fast progressing so as to commission it before the beginning of the Mandalam- Makaravilakku pilgrim season that begins on November 16.

Talking to The Hindu, G. Mahesh, architect of the Chennai-based Pithavadian and Partners Limited, consultants of the Sabarimala Master Plan, said the High Power Committee (HPC) had taken every possible step to complete the underpass by November 10.

The work on the underpass began two-and-a-half months ago. Though the work was stopped for a few days in August following certain objections raised by the Forest Department, the HPC and the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) had sorted out the issues and resumed the work.

The underpass was estimated to cost Rs.1.10 crore. However, with the work progressing, the underpass will be completed even below its estimated cost, said Mr. Mahesh.

The TDB and the HPC have geared up the project work so as to complete it ahead of the schedule. The underpass will ease the congestion at Marakkoottom, besides facilitating free movement of tractors carrying goods between the Sannidhanam and Pampa even during the rush days of the pilgrim season.

Flyover

Meanwhile, the TDB has almost completed the flyover linking Maalikappuram temple complex with the Annadaana Mandapam as part of the master plan. The finishing touches of the flyover is progressing at the Sannidhanam. The flyover would be ready for inauguration in the first week of November, official sources said.

Annadaana Mandapam

The work on two Annadaana Mandapams is also progressing. The TDB has undertaken both the projects through sponsorship. Sunil Kumar of the Kollam-based Sabari Group of companies and Sudarshana Reddy of the Andhra Pradesh unit of the Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajom are sponsoring the two Mandapams coming up near Malikappuram.

Each Mandapam with state-of-the-art kitchen will have a total plinth area of 21,500 sq.ft. and is estimated to cost Rs. 6 crore each.

The TDB is trying its best to complete at least the ground floor of both the double-storey structures by January so that it could be utilised for Annadanam during the forthcoming festival.

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