More facilities for pilgrims

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Nov. 13. The State Government has taken various steps to ease the hardships of Sabarimala pilgrims including the timely maintenance of roads, starting of new bus services and imposing a blanket ban on plastic, the Devaswom Minister, G. Karthikeyan, has said.

Mr. Karthikeyan said in a release here that well before the start of the season itself, the Government has convened the meeting of various departments and coordinated their functioning. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation would operate services from all the major bus stations in the State to Pampa and Erumeli. The chain service between Pampa and Nilackal would be run without interruption. As many as 175 new buses will be added to the fleet during the season, he said.

A blanket ban has been imposed on plastic. It would be enforced at the Sannidhanam, Pampa and Erumeli. Modern sewerage treatment plants have been set up at the Sannidhanam and Pampa. Once the incinerators start functioning, solid waste management would become more easy, he said.

Allopathy, homoeo and ayurveda dispensaries have been set up at the Sannidhanam and Pampa. Oxygen parlours have been set up on the Pampa-Sannidhanam road and cardiology units at Appachimedu and the Neelimala climb. A hospital with modern equipment will function at Pampa. Tele-medicine facility too will be provided. Ambulance and mobile units will be pressed into service. Sufficient staff too would be deployed, he said.

The authorities have made arrangements for the supply of potable water. Last year's parking system will continue. The tickets for `neyyabhishekam' will be issued at all major temples. Prasadam will be provided round-the-clock. The functioning of information centres would be strengthened.

The Government has urged the Railways to start more services for pilgrims from other States. More facilities would be provided for pilgrims at Pandalam, Chenganoor and Erumeli, Mr. Karthikeyan said in the release.