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Chandy reviews steps for pilgrim season

Staff Reporter
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Departments to see to it that decisions taken at the meet are implemented

For the pilgrims: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy addressing a meeting on Sabarimala held at Pampa on Monday. – Photo: Leju Kamal
For the pilgrims: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy addressing a meeting on Sabarimala held at Pampa on Monday. – Photo: Leju Kamal

Government departments and the Travancore Devaswom Board have made arrangements for the smooth conduct of the Mandalam- Makaravilakku pilgrim season at Sabarimala, which begins on November 17.

This was announced at an official meeting convened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at the devaswom hall at Pampa on Monday.

Addressing the meeting, Mr. Chandy said the departments should see to it that the decisions taken at the meeting were effectively implemented.

Addressing the meeting, K.Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary, and M.Rajagopalan Nair, TDB president, said all steps had been taken by the government and the board for a trouble-free pilgrimage season.

They said the queue complex at Sabaripeedhom would be completed in two weeks and the work on the second queue complex at Saramkuthi was progressing.

Additional Director-General of Police P.Chandrashekharan said a security manual had been prepared for Sabarimala and Erumely too would be brought in its ambit.

The department would deploy additional force at Pampa and Sabarimala during the pilgrim season. Presiding over the meeting, V.S. Sivakumar, Minister for Devaswom and Transport, said the Health Department would open a full-fledged hospital at the Nilackal base camp .

The hospital would have a 30-bed inpatient facility, operation theatre, intensive care unit, and an advanced clinical laboratory.

As many as 36 doctors from Andhra Pradesh would join the doctors to be deployed at various hospitals at Sabarimala, Pampa, and Nilackal during the pilgrim season.

Mr. Chandy directed the railway authorities to open an information centre for Sabarimala pilgrims at Kayamkulam Junction.

District Collector P.Venugopal said the Sabarimala Sanitation Society would deploy 750 workers at Sabarimala during the pilgrim season.

The district administration would deploy special squads to monitor the price fixed for food items and check fleecing of pilgrims at hotels and other shops, the Collector said.

Finance Minister K.M. Mani sanctioned Rs.39 lakh to the Kerala Water Authority for carrying out repair works at its pumping stations to ensure prompt supply of drinking water to the base camps.

Mr. Sivakumar said the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation had ordered 500 new buses for operating Sabarimala special services. The TDB president stressed the need to augment security at the temple and for ensuring strict vigil by the Forest Department on various forest paths leading to the Sannidhanam.

Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan; Anto Antony, P.Thomas, K.N.Balagopal, MPs; K.Sivadasan Nair, Raju Abraham, N.Jayaraj, MLAs; Babu George, district panchayat president; Mini Antony, Kottayam Collector; and Thennala Balakrishnan Pillai, Akhila Bhartha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom president, addressed the meeting.

Jacob Punnose, Director-General of Police; K.Cicily, K.M. Velayudhan, TDB members, and A.Sureshkumar, Pathanamthitta municipal chairman, attended the meeting.

No illegal routes

PTI adds: Keeping in mind the Pulmedu stampede tragedy that claimed the lives of 102 pilgrims early this year, the government decided to prohibit trekking by devotees through unauthorised routes during the pilgrim season.

Mr. Chandy asked the Police and Forest Departments to ensure that no pilgrim walked up to the Ayyappa temple through any path other than the authorised ones.

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