PATHANAMTHITTA: The Travancore Devaswom Board will allow fewer shops and other commercial establishments at Sabarimala during the next Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage, says Devaswom Commissioner P.V. Nalinakshan Nair. The idea is to liberate space for providing amenities to the pilgrims.
He told The Hindu here on Sunday that the board had decided not to give permits for running shops selling toys, bangles, cosmetics and electronic goods.
The High-Power Committee, chaired by K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary, had decided to conduct a detailed survey to find out the dos and don’ts in allotting space for shops and eateries.
Mr. Nair said the shopkeepers would have the contractual obligation of safe disposal of waste generated at their establishments.
He said V. Rajagopal, Chief Engineer of the board and nodal officer for the Sabarimala master-plan implementation, would conduct a detailed survey of shops soon. Mr. Rajagopal would submit his report in 10 days on the number and nature of shops needed at Pampa, the Sannidhanam, Pandithavalom and along the trekking path. This would enable the board to start tender proceedings with the permission of the Kerala High Court.
Mr. Nair said the board would explore the possibility of setting up a modern pouch-filling unit at Sabarimala as the 11-year-old mechanised Aravana filling unit had developed snags.
He said superior quality pouches could be used, enhancing Aravana’s shelf life and quality and hygiene.
The board was planning to have a buffer Aravana stock in 25-lakh pouches before the beginning of the pilgrimage.
Mr. Nair said a tender would be floated nationally for preparing the detailed layout of the proposed queue complex between Marakkoottam and the Sannidhanam.
The complex would not hinder wildlife movement.