Kerala

Sabarimala pilgrims flood Erumely

Sabarimala pilgrims thronging the streets of Erumely on Saturday evening.

Sabarimala pilgrims thronging the streets of Erumely on Saturday evening.  

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Twin temples in town record an almost 100% jump in revenue

Even as a spiritual frenzy has engulfed Erumely which is slated to host the ceremonial Petta Thullal preceded by the Chandanakkudam celebrations at the Nainar mosque here next week, the steady inflow of pilgrims en route to Sabarimala have put the authorities on their toes this season

According to the police, the town has experienced the biggest traffic snarls in its history since the December holidays. The ripple effects of these snarls are visible all across the region with serpentine queues going up to the Sabarimala route on one side and up to Kanjirappally on the other side.

“The entire region is so chocked with the pilgrims vehicles that traffic to only one direction could be permitted on most of these days. To ease the congestion, we have now opened more parking grounds that go up to several kms on both sides of the Sabarimala route,” said J. Santosh Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of police, Kanjirappally.

According to him, an additional batch of 100 policemen are set to join the crowd-management duties on January 8. Presently, as many as 378 officials have been deployed on a special duty for the two-month season.

The Erumely panchayat, meanwhile, has constituted a special committee to distribute refreshments to the pilgrims who get stuck in the vehicles for hours.

“This is the first time that the local body is initiating a system as the influx has been much beyond the carrying capacity of this region. The local business too has recorded a corresponding shoot up, which is expected to make up for the losses incurred to the local vendors last year,” noted T.S. Krishna Kumar, president, Erumeli panchayat.

Estimates with the Travacore Devaswom Board suggested that the twin temples at the town here together recorded an almost 100 percent jump in its revenue in the first 41 days of the season, which stood at ₹5.04 crore. Of these, the Erumeli Dharma Sastha temple alone recorded an income of ₹4.79 crore.

Windfall

The Kerala State Transport Corporation (KSRTC) too has made a windfall from this unprecedented rush with its collection at the Erumeli operating centre crossing ₹91 lakh as against ₹51.22 lakh in the previous season. During the period, the Corporation operated as many as 3,621 trips between Erumeli and Pampa and transported around 1.17 lakh people. The revenue per km is estimated to be ₹69.13.

“The Corporation currently operates a fleet of 10 buses from the Centre here while this uninterrupted flow has forced us to deploy an additional batch of 50 employees to carry out the operation round the clock. With this influx set to multiply in the final week leading to the Makaravilakku festival, we have sought an additional fleet of 10 buses to meet the demand,” said a senior KSRTC official.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 12:13:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sabarimala-pilgrims-flood-erumely/article30480825.ece

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