`Facilities will be improved at Sabarimala'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM OCT. 5. The Devaswom Minister, G. Karthikeyan, has that better facilities will be arranged at Sabarimala during the coming season.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Minister said that plans had been prepared for better management of the traffic. All employees of the Devaswom Board, Government staff and volunteers of the Ayyappa Seva Sanghom would be required to wear identity cards.

Mr. Karthikeyan said that only 50 shops would be allowed between Pamba and Sannidhanam this year against 84 last year.

The Mata Amrithanandamayi Institute of Medical Sciences would run an eight-bedded cardiac care centre at Pamba. Cardiology units would be set up at other places also. More oxygen units would be made available along the trekking path.

Buses and other vehicles coming to Sabarimala would have to park at Nilackal. The KSRTC would operate chain services to carry the pilgrims from Nilackal to Sabarimala. A temporary flyover would be set up at Marakoottam, he said.

The State Civil Supplies Corporation, he said, would run Maveli hotels at Pamba, Sannidhanam and Nilackal. The Devaswom Board would provide meals to 2,000 persons a day for a token price. ``Ginger Kashayam'' will also be available. Steps would be taken to streamline supply of water and electricity. More pilgrims were expected to arrive at Sabarimala this season.

The Minister said that he had convened a conference of Devaswom Board authorities, officials from various departments, representatives of Ayyappa Sevas Sanghom and local authorities today to discuss the preparations.

The Devaswom Board president, N. Babu, the members, P. Sasidharan and Charupara Ravi, the Pathanamthitta Collector, Enose, the Pathanamthitta district panchayat president, Mathew Kulathungal, attended.

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