Kerala

HC calls for prior notice before imposing curbs at Sabarimala

Any restriction or stoppage of Sabarimala pilgrimage due to emergent situations or extreme weather conditions should be immediately intimated to the Special Commissioner and the executive officer for making arrangements for helping the pilgrims, the Kerala High Court has directed.

Such measures were necessary for the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) to assist the stranded pilgrims at Sabarimala, Pamba and Nilackal to provide them food, said the order passed by a Division Bench consisting of Justice Anil Narendran and Justice P.G. Ajithkumar.

The court issued the instructions to the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) and the district administration while considering a special report from the Special Commissioner regarding the stranded pilgrims on November 20 following the temporary prohibition on visitors to the temple due to the heavy rain.

Remove encroachments

In another order, the Bench directed the State Government and the Public Works Department (PWD) Secretary to maintain the roads and pedestrian facilities strictly in conformity with the relevant standards and guidelines.

No encroachments should be allowed on the right of way or on the pedestrian facilities. The safety of the most vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, children, elderly and differently-abled persons should be ensured, the court directed.

The court recorded the statement of the Government that steps for removing hoardings and encroachments on road pavements had already been initiated.

The PWD submitted that the repairs and maintenance work of 12 roads were completed. The maintenance and repair works along the Plappilly- Aaghamuzhi- Chittar- Vadasserikkara road would be completed once the laying of pipeline for a drinking water project was completed. Barricades had already been erected to facilitate vehicular traffic on one side, it submitted.

Virtual queue

The State Government and the TDB informed the court that 40,000 devotees should be permitted to offer prayers at Sabarimala through the virtual queue system and another 5,000 through spot booking every day. At present, 30,000 pilgrims were allowed every day. Discussions for throwing open the traditional trekking route and allowing bath at the Pamba and offering Neyyabhishekam (ghee offering) were on, they submitted.

The Special Commissioner reported that less than 25,000 pilgrims were reaching every day at the temple these days. Only those spot booking centres at Nilackal, Kottarakara, Pandalam and Sreekadeswaram temple elicited reasonable response, he submitted.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 1:33:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-calls-for-prior-notice-before-imposing-curbs-at-sabarimala/article37706985.ece

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