KERALA

Call to set up base camps at Sabarimala

PATHANAMTHITTA Nov. 9. The former president of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, R. V. G. Menon, has stressed the need to set up a full-fledged base camps for Sabarimala pilgrims at various satellite towns of Pampa with a view to easing congestion at Pampa and Sannidhanam during the pilgrim season.

Addressing a seminar on ``Sabarimala development'' organised by the Mathrubhoomi at Chengannur today, Prof. Menon said that a systematic approach was needed to provide basic facilities for pilgrims at Sabarimala.

According to him, special treatment for VIPs should be discouraged at Sabarimala as equality for all was the very message of the Sabarimala pilgrimage.

Prof. Menon said that vehicle parking at Pampa should be stopped by providing parking facilities at Nilackal and arranging frequent chair transport service between Nilackal and Pampa.

He expressed concern over the ongoing trend of `concrete culture' that ultimately converted the sacred grove into a `concrete jungle'.

Participating in the seminar, the Assistant Field Director of the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR), S. Sivadas, said that an average Sabarimala pilgrim never sought comfort for luxury.

What he aspired was a heart-warming `darsan' of the presiding deity and a safe pilgrimage, he said.

``Pilgrimage is no picnic and concretisation is no development,'' Mr. Sivadas said. He said that a true assessment of the needs of the pilgrims coming from different parts of the country should be made and chalk out schemes to provide eco-friendly facilities for them in the forest areas.

``Providing basic facilities for pilgrims is not shaving the hills,'' says Mr. Sivadas.

Mr. Sivadas stressed the need to provide basic pilgrim facilities at Sabarimala situated in the PTR without affecting the ecological balance of this rich bio-diversity hot spot.

The member secretary of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, K. V. Indulal, stressed the need to implement the much sought-after Pampa Action Plan to contain the pollution menace in river Pampa.

P. A. Sreedharan Nair was the moderator.

The TDB president, N. Babu, the member, D. Sasidharan, and others addressed the function.

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