Kerala on Wednesday sought the cooperation of all southern states to implement the Supreme Court order allowing women of all ages into the famed Sabarimala hill shrine.
Speaking at a southern state conference on Sabarimala Pilgrimage, Kerala Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the state government has constitutional obligation to implement the apex court order.
‘Sabarimala is a center of peace and hope for the devotees.I am sure with your cooperation and support we can ensure a peaceful and hassle-free pilgrimage,’ he added.
The meeting of Senior officials from southern states discussed the arrangements for the ensuing Sabarirnala season starting, on 16th of November 2018.
‘As all of you are aware, Kerala has witnessed unprecedented flood situation in the month of August and Sabarimala, especially Pamba has been very badly affected. The devastating flood has washed away Nadappanthal at Pamba. The Health Centre, and the toilet facilities has been very badly damaged.
The state government rose to the occasion and restoration works at Pamba and construction of additional facilities for the pilgrims at Nilakkal base camp has been entrusted with Tata Project Ltd at an estimated amount of 25 crores.
Almost all the works at Pamba and Nilakkal are nearing completion. This includes facility for accommodating ten thousand pilgrims, parking of twenty thousand vehicles apart from providing facilities for drinking water, toilet blocks, STP etc should be ready by 11th of November.
The repair of road works is also taken up on a war footing and are nearing completion. I thank all the States for contributing generously to the CMDRF for reconstructing Kerala.
Since the flood has devastated the facilities at Pamba, the base camp of Sabarimala pilgrimage will be Nilakkal. The devotees will be regulated from Nilakkal and KSRTC will provide chain service from Nilakkal to Pamba and back. No private vehicle will he allowed beyond Nilakkal. The booking of KSRTC buses can be done online in advance if the devotees desire. There will be facilities for offline booking, also Nilakkal and Pamba. Last year we could successfully implement green protocol.
This year as per the orders of the High Court plastic in any form is banned even inside the Irumudikkettu. Hence, wide publicity may be given in vernacular languages by print and electronic media across all the South Indian States to build awareness among the Guru Swamis as well as Ayyappa devottees, not to bring any plastic items even in the irumudikkettu.
There has been widespread campaign in Kerala and in other states against donating cash in Sabarimala and other temples of Devaswom Boards. I use this opportunity to state clearly that Government of Kerala is not taking a single penny from the revenue of the temples. On the other hand, Government is granting huge funds for the administration of temples every year.
Every year roughly around 40 to 45 devotees suffer heart attacks and die after trekking or on route. This can be avoided by giving publicity for advance health check up before coming to Sabarimala. The Cardiologists for the emergency medical centres in the trekking- path as well as at the Nilakkal, Pamba nad Sannidhanam. who knows the local languages of the devotees would he helpful in cases of emergencies.
Since the hilltop and the Pamba has been badly damaged, the parking facilities of all the private vehicles and that of State Transport undertaking is arranged at Nilakkal.
The devotees may cooperate with the police officials in parking their vehicles at the Nilakkal to avoid any traffic congestion.
Kerala is seeking crowd funding for construction of Sabarimala base camp facilities, STP at Pamba etc. I request all the states to give wide publicity so that devotees who are willing to contribute for the re-construction of Sabarimala can make use of the opportunity, he added.