Roy Mathew

Draft Master Plan proposes strategy to minimise future disasters

  • Suggests environment-friendly development
  • Improved transportation facilities proposed
  • Working committee discusses proposals

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The draft Master Plan for Sabarimala (Phase II), prepared by IL and FS Ecosmart Limited and submitted to the Government recently, proposes guided development of the Sabarimala complex and surrounding region in a complimentary and eco-friendly manner "so as to provide a satisfying pilgrimage experience."

    It also proposes a disaster management strategy to minimise future disasters and their impacts.

    Titled Perspective 2050, the Plan lays down a `road map' for interventions during an immediate phase lasting till 2015 and a long-term phase till 2050.

    Proposals include setting up of base and transit camps, improved transportation facilities including ropeways, improvement of the existing roads, construction of new roads, augmentation of water supply and sanitation facilities and integration of projects identified under the Pampa Action Plan.

    Efficient management of solid wastes, rejuvenation of impaired environment and better infrastructure for health care, communications and fire fighting are among the other proposals.

    The Plan, presented in five modules, proposes community participation in all disaster preparedness activities and coordinated response and recovery plans.

    The lost pristine landscape of the temple environ, trek routes and base camps are proposed to be reintroduced. Erumely, Vandiperiyar (Sathram or Uppupara) and Nilackal have been identified as base camps.

    An institutional set-up is proposed to ensure eco-friendly provision of services and facilities at the pilgrim centre.

    According to the executive summary of the Plan, the effort had been to develop and redevelop Sabarimala to conform to all religious aspirations and imbibe the best of Kerala's traditions in accordance to art, culture, traditional temple architecture (Vastuvidya) and planning.

    The Working Committee for Sabarimala Development, headed by Principal Secretary E. K. Bharat Bhushan, on Monday discussed the draft.

    Travancore Devaswom Board president G. Raman Nair attended the meeting, among others.

    The consultants from Ecosmart and officials will be visiting Sabarimala on Tuesday for spot inspections.

    This will be followed by consultations with stakeholders on August 11.

    Additional proposals

    The Board has put up additional proposals for inclusion in the Plan. These would be vetted for incorporation into the final Master Plan.

    Ecosmart submitted a Concept Plan and Phase I of Master Plan that addressed the immediate needs for the pilgrim season of 2005-06 last year.

    However, preparation of the Plan for the Second phase had been delayed on account of various controversies.