Implementation of Sabarimala master plan

The Central government on Tuesday sought a directive from a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court to the State government and the Travancore Devaswom Board to implement the Sabarimala master plan in a time-bound manner by appointing a chief executive officer.

In a statement filed before the Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice S.S. Satheesachandran, Chief Conservator of Forest (Central) K.S. Reddy sought to put in place a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the plan.

The statement said the State government and the board were going slow on implementing the plan. Had the master plan been implemented in time, the stampede at Pulmedu could have been averted. The Chief Conservator pointed out that 12.675 hectares of forestland diverted from the Periayar tiger reserve and 110.524 hectares diverted at Nilakkal for implementing the master plan had not been developed as per the master plan.

No sanitation works had been undertaken in the Pampa and adjoining areas. The Pulmedu stampede took place due to a temporary blockade of vehicles on the pathway near Uppupara.

Pilgrims had congregated at Uppupara due to the opening of a path from Fourth Mile to the Vandiperiyar highway. The use of this path for tourist and vehicular traffic had to be stopped.

The demand for further diversion of the forestland for non-forest purposes by the TDB was not justified since the land already made available to the board was not being utilised.