Minister for Devaswoms K. Radhakrishnan has directed the Government departments to prepare an action plan for timely completion of arrangements for the upcoming Mandalam-Makaravilakku season at Sabarimala.
Addressing a meeting to review the preparations for the annual pilgrim season at Pampa here on Saturday, the Minister said about 10 lakh out of the 15.25 lakh slots available for darsan under the virtual queue system had already been booked. He warned against committing any lapses in adhering to the COVID-19 protocol.
Tenders have been floated for the construction of seven stop-over facilities for devotees from other States at a cost of ₹150 crore. As many as 470 KSRTC buses, including 140 pampa- Nilackal chain services, will operate this season. The chain services will be operated by 100 ordinary buses and 40 AC buses.
A COVID-19 testing centre will be set up at Nilackal, besides the Sabarimala hospitals at Nilackal, Pampa and the Sannidhanam. Five emergency medical centres too will be set up for the devotees.
Discussions will be held with the respective Chief Secretaries and Devaswom Ministers of neighbouring States. The civil defence system will be further enhanced in view of the disaster situation. Restoration of all roads in the pilgrimage circuit will be carried out in a time-bound manner.
Holding that the financial crisis experienced by the State should not be an impediment to development activities, Mr. Radhakrishnan said steps would be taken to disburse funds to the local bodies. The Government, according to him, has provided assistance to the tune of ₹185 crore to Devaswom boards in recent years.
N. Vasu, president, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), said all arrangements were in place for the season. Tender proceedings for the preparation of Appam and Aravana were completed, while the tender of shops would soon take place.
Government Chief Whip N. Jayaraj; MLAs Pramod Narayan, K.U. Janish Kumar, Vazhoor Soman and Sebastian Kulathungal; Principal Secretary K.R. Jyothilal; Pathanamthitta District Collector Divya S. Iyer; and Kottayam District Collector P.K. Jayasree were present.