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Priority to Sabarimala Master Plan

Radhakrishnan Kuttoor
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Chandy inaugurates Zero Waste Sabarimala project to clean up the holy hills

The State government has given priority to execute the Sabarimala Master Plan to ensure better facilities at the pilgrim centre, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said

He was inaugurating the ‘Zero Waste Sabarimala' project at a function at Pampa on Monday.

“Proper management of the huge quantity of waste that accumulates during the pilgrim season has been a major issue facing Sabarimala and Pampa. The government has set apart a budgetary allocation of Rs.5 crore for waste management at Sabarimala and the zero-waste project is aimed at making the pilgrim centre free of the menace of waste,” he said.

Mr. Chandy said the government and the Travancore Devaswom Board had decided to seek support of religious and other agencies such as Mata Amritanandamayi Math, Satya Sai Seva Samithi, Ayyappa Seva Sanghom, National Service Scheme, and Vana Samrakshana Samithis for clearing waste from Sabarimala through an intensive pre-pilgrimage season drive.

He said the response was immense and the Math alone had deployed 4,500 volunteers for the drive. The other agencies too deployed volunteers at the pilgrim centre on Monday.

Mr. Chandy said Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Puducherry had agreed to cooperate in the implementation of the Sabarimala Master Plan.

He said an inter-State council for Sabarimala would be constituted and a Sabarimala cell would be set up at the Secretariats of these States soon.

Lauding the cleaning drive, the Chief Minister said the government wished to make it a continuing process to preserve the serenity of the sacred hills. He stressed the need for a collective effort for the successful implementation of development schemes at Sabarimala.

Addressing the function, Finance Minister K.M. Mani said the government was committed to making the Sabarimala pilgrimage a trouble-free experience for the pilgrims.

He said the government would sanction funds for Sabarimala development as and when necessary.

Devaswom Minister V.S. Sivakumar, presiding over the function, said the government had agreed to allot five acres each to the four States at the Nilackal base camp for constructing pilgrim amenity centres.

Welcoming the gathering, M. Rajagopalan Nair, Travancore Devaswom Board president, expressed hope that the cleaning drive would be made a continuing process even after the festival season.

K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary and Chairman of the High-Power Committee on Sabarimala, said the government was chalking out a permanent arrangement for waste collection and disposal at Sabarimala.

Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and O. Rajagopal, former Union Minister, spoke. Anto Antony and P.T. Thomas, MPs; Raju Abraham and K. Sivadasan Nair, MLAs; K. Cicily and K.M. Velayudhan, Devaswom Board members; S. Jagadish, Special Commissioner appointed by the Kerala High Court; Devaswom Commissioner N. Vasu; and K. Ravikumar, Chief Engineer, were present.

Hundreds of sanitation volunteers attended the function.

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