N.J. Nair

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Routine administrative affairs of 1,200 temples as well as the functioning of the educational institutions run by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) are likely to be affected owing to the delay in giving timely clearances.

All credit payments for meeting the day-to-day expenses, including the purchase of lids and containers for packing ‘aravana,’ as well as the daily feeding of pilgrims and the staff on duty during the festival season in Sabarimala should be ratified by the Board members. The executive officers’ request to sanction Rs.2 crore for such expenses in Sabarimala is pending clearance of the Board, sources said.

Heavy rush

Considering the heavy rush of pilgrims during the current festival season, the demand for ‘aravana is likely to exceed 1.5 lakh tins a day. The existing stock of containers may not be sufficient to meet the demand during the run-up to the ‘Makaravilakku’ festival. Anticipating a spurt in demand, the Board will have to make exhaustive arrangements. This is also imperative for meeting the shortfall in revenue. No serious thought has been given to step up the production and supply, sources said.

Administration of the four colleges and 18 schools as well as service matters of the 500-odd staff, including teachers, come under the control of the Board secretary. As the post of the secretary is vacant, issues that demand urgent attention have been kept in cold storage. Pilgrims have to secure the permission of the Board for making major offerings in all temples. This includes construction works as well as offering gold and other valuables to the temples. During the festival season a number of devotees come up with offers to sponsor major works in Sabarimala and other temples. Recently Anand Milk Union Ltd. (AMUL) had volunteered to pack ‘aravana’ without incurring any expenses to the Board. The permission of the Board is imperative for conducting rites like ‘ashtabandha kalasam’ at temples. A number of requests for sponsorship are awaiting the clearance of the board, sources said. Civil works, including maintenance works, are in various stages of completion. The assistant secretary who holds charge of the Board secretary does not have the authority to sanction funds. If the government fails to make arrangements, even such routine functions will be affected.

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