Police block vehicles on roads leading to Pampa

There was heavy rush at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple from Monday morning forcing the police to block vehicles at Vadaserikkara, Perinad, Laha, and Plappally on the Pathanamthitta-Pampa road and at Kanamala and Elavumkal on the Erumely-Elavumkal road from 3 p.m.

The long line of vehicles trapped on the Pathanamthitta-Pampa road extended to about 40 km between Vadasserikkara and Elavumkal.

An ambulance of the Ayyappa Seva Sanghom too was caught in the block for about five hours. The pilgrim flow towards Sabarimala from Pampa was regulated from the morning owing to the rush. Police special officer A.Sreenivas was camping at Marakkoottom .

A temporary barricade erected at Marakottom collapsed in the rush at 2.30 a.m. No pilgrim was hurt in the incident and the timely intervention of the police averted a stampede, an eyewitness said.

There were also reports of damage to hand rails along the Neelimala-Appachimedu stretch of the trekking path. Pilgrims had to wait for hours on the path leading to the hillock to reach the temple.

Many pilgrims returning after ‘darshan’ complained about poor amenities. They had to wait for seven to eight hours inside the thickly packed barricades without basic facilities.

The Travancore Devaswom Board, Ayyappa Seva Sanghom, Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajom, and other non-governmental organisations were supplying medicated drinking water and biscuits to pilgrims waiting inside the barricade.

K.Babu, Special Commissioner appointed by the Kerala High Court, P. Venugopal, Devaswom Commissioner, and Subhash Vasu, TDB member, are camping at Sabarimala.

Revenue collection

The TDB member said the revenue at Sabarimala crossed Rs.120.40 crore on Sunday evening, an increase of Rs.20 crore compared to the same period last year.