TDB appoints officer to prepare plan

Work on base camp to begin on August 21

Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has appointed R. Murukesan, former Chief Engineer attached to the Public Works Department, to formulate proposals to be included in the proposed Sabarimala master plan.

Talking to The Hindu , TDB president G. Raman Nair said Mr. Murukesan would also act as liaison officer of the Board with the Delhi-based Ecosmart India Limited, which will prepare the master plan.

Mr. Nair said Ecosmart India Limited would submit the draft of the short-term projects to be implemented at Nilackal to the TDB on July 11.

The Board would present it before the Public Accounts Committee in New Delhi on July 14.

He said the TDB would give an assurance to the PAC that the projects earmarked in the master plan would be implemented in a time-bound manner.

He said the Board would invite tenders from professionally competent firms that are capable of completing various short-term projects in a time-bound manner, by November first week.

The TDB chief said the work on the projects as per the master plan would begin in Nilackal on August 21, the fifth day in the Malayalam month of `Chingom.'

The Tantri will perform special puja at Sabarimala and at Nilackal prior to the beginning of the base camp development works.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair and senior officials attached to the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment will also attend the function.

Mr. Nair said the TDB was planning to arrange a facility for parking of not less than 10,000 vehicles at Nilackal in the first phase of the base camp development.

According to him, 4,200 rubber trees have to be felled to arrange basic facilities at Nilackal during the forthcoming Mandalam-Makravilakku season.

The TDB would set up 400 new toilets and a few pilgrim shelters at Nilackal as part of the first phase of the proposed master plan.

The existing roads on the Nilackal hillock would be widened and repaired so as to facilitate vehicle parking in the rubber plantation without felling any more trees.

Aravana plant

He said the Travancore Devaswom Board would also explore the possibility of constructing the proposed sewage treatment plant and Aravana plant in its lease area at the Sannidhanam before the ensuing pilgrim season begins.

He said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had given a free hand to the Forest Department to survey the revenue land at Kambakkalluu in Idukki district and take as much land required for compensatory afforestation in lieu of the forest land alloted to the TDB in Nilackal as well as Periyar Tiger Reserve for the proposed Sabarimala development project.

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