Radhakrishnan Kuttoor

First meeting of high-power committee to be held in the capital tomorrow

Need for new system to contain plastic waste

Plea to overhaul sanitation system

SABARIMALA: Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar, who has been appointed head of the high-power committee for the smooth management of the Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival at Sabarimala, has said priority will be given to sanitation, hygiene and cleanliness.

During his visit to the Sannidhanam on Sunday, Mr. Jayakumar said delayed decision-making was the primary malady with the conduct of the pilgrimage. The first meeting of the committee would be held in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday and all pending decisions would be discussed at the meeting.

Mr. Jayakumar said the sanitation system at Sabarimala should be overhauled. Plastic was a major menace and a new system should be introduced permanently to contain it. A shredder could be installed at the Sannidhanam, if needed, to clear the plastic waste.

Security

Mr. Jayakumar said security arrangements would be given priority at Sabarimala in the prevailing context and a better crowd-management system chalked out. Coordinated functioning of various government agencies, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) departments and various other stakeholders at Sabarimala, was important for the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage.

The police and other security personnel should be provided with better basic facilities. Proper facility to keep modern electronic gadgets for security arrangements should also be given.

Mr. Jayakumar said Tuesday’s meeting would take decisions on important issues pertaining to Sabarimala and the pilgrimage management. He sought the cooperation of all to ensure smooth conduct of the pilgrimage.

Inspection

Mr. Jayakumar, accompanied by Nalinakshan Nair, Devaswom Commissioner, K. Ravikumar, Chief Engineer, Balachandran, Executive Officer, and other TDB officials, inspected the Sannidhanam and Pampa to take stock of the situation at the holy hillock prior to the committee’s meeting. He inspected the ‘aravana’ plant and the Chandranandan Road where widening work was fast progressing.

Coordination must

Devaswom Minister G. Sudhakaran has said various government departments functioning independently for providing facilities to Sabarimala pilgrims during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival should not be permitted. Talking to reporters at Ranni on Sunday, he said no department should act on its own at Sabarimala without the clearance of the coordination committee chaired by Mr. Jayakumar.

Mr. Sudhakaran said the Sabari Theerthom Scheme launched by the Forest Department was not with the knowledge of the government.

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