TDB to raise funds for Sabarimala master plan
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Last Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 10:44
Kochi: Aiming to mobilise about Rs 150 crore for providing much-needed facilities for the pilgrims thronging the Lord Ayyappa shrine in lakhs every year, a trust formed to implement the Sabarimala Master Plan has decided to tap various state governments and NRIs in the Gulf countries and Malaysia.

The Sabarimala Master Plan Infrastructure Fund Trust plans to undertake visits during coming December-January in this regard, a top official of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), administering the famous hill Shrine said.

"Initially we propose to raise Rs 150 crore from different state governments and even go to Gulf countries and Malaysia where there are a lot of Keralites", Board President M Rajagopalan Nair said.

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Trust which met here over the last week end. The meeting was attended by trust members including Prime Minister's Advisor T K A Nair, former Supreme Court judge Arijit Passayat, industrialist G N Rao and Shobha Developers Chairman P N C Menon.

The proposal would be placed before a meeting convened on October 23 by Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy at Kottayam, Nair said.

The funds would be used to implement the first phase of the masterplan for providing various facilities at the shrine which receives an estimated three crore devotees during the annual pilgrim season during November-January.

The comprehensive Master Plan, approved by the TDB, Kerala Government and the Supreme Court, has been prepared to meet the growing demands of the ever-increasing number of pilgrims.

Consequently, the Sabarimala Master Plan Infrastructure Fund has been registered to mobilise resources and sponsorship for these projects, Nai said.

In the initial phase works including building sewage treatment plants, rope way, check dams, improvement of parking areas, service roads are planned to be taken up at a tentative cost of Rs 500 crore.

Nair said the trust proposes to construct a food court and prasdam complex, reconstruct the 'Nadapandhal' and take up the development of Nilakkal base camp leading to the holy hillock.

"Now we are constructing a bailey bridge and connecting routes behind the temple that will be used for pilgrims when they return from the shrine", he said. Vehicular traffic will be regulated through the Satram route.

It was during the pilgrim season on January 15 this year that 102 pilgrims were killed and several others injured in a stampede while pilgrims were returning after witnessing the 'Makaravillakku' (celestial light) at Pullmedu.

The Pullmedu route would be closed for vehicular traffic but pilgrims would be allowed to take the route, he said.

As the two- month pilgrim season is set to commence next month at Sabarimala, TDB has made all preparations to ensure that devotees are not put to any hardships, officials said.


First Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 10:44

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