Ombudsman informs High Court

The Ombudsman for the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom boards has informed the Kerala High Court that it is not possible to reduce the height of the flag mast of Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple to facilitate construction of an airport at Aranmula.

He submitted that the flag mast was made according to tantric rules. Therefore, the question of shifting the flag mast did not arise at all.

He said the height of the flag mast was determined on the basis of the height of the ‘sreekovil’ and other measurements of the temple and it could not be reduced for accommodating an airport.

If a suggestion for reducing the height was accepted, it would be as good as shifting the temple itself to some other convenient place, which, the devotees would not permit.

Two study reports on the construction of the proposed Aranmula airport suggest delimitation of the boundaries of Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple along with making some alterations on the flag mast.

The project report by KITCO and the report by the Airports Authority of India pointed out that the proposed airport project implementation would affect the flag mast and ‘gopuram’ of the temple.

It was reported that the height of the flag mast should be reduced to 23.7 metres from 30.8 metres and the gopuram should be shifted 285 metres away . These suggestions were made as the authorities were ignorant of the temple structure and importance of the flag mast.

The report of the Ombudsman also pointed out that the proposed airport in the private sector had invited criticism from environmentalists and nature lovers.