ABASS free food facility vandalised
By Express News Service | Published: 17th December 2012 12:19 PM |
The Akhila Bharata Ayyappa Seva Sangham’s (ABASS) free food distribution facility at Karimala, on the traditional forest trekking path between Azhuthakadavu and Valiyanavattom, has come to a standstill, following the destruction of the water storage tank and water supply line, allegedly by members of the Eco-development Committees (EDCs) which run hotels at Karimala. ABASS general secretary N Velayudhan Nair said that its pilgrim facility at Karimala, which has been offering free food to thousands of pilgrims during the pilgrimage season, for nearly two decades, has been left in the lurch after the water storage tank having a capacity of 60,000 litres, and the pipeline connecting it to the free food facility were destroyed on Saturday. Camp officer of the pilgrim service facility Gurumurthy Chettiar informed the ABASS about the sabotage on Saturday. The ABASS facility at Karimala is the only free-of-cost food and drinking water facility for pilgrims on this route. The EDCs, which run 10 hotels and about a dozen shops at Karimala, allegedly hired a group of goons to vandalise the storage tank, with the objective of fleecing the pilgrims. The hotels charge `70 for meals and `50 for gruel from the pilgrims. In contrast, the ABASS pilgrim facility charges only nominal prices.
and hence became a stumbling block for the EDC hotels and soft drink shops, which charge an exorbitant `25 for a glass of lemon juice. The unfortunate part of the incident is that the Forest Department personnel have not taken any action even after a formal complaint was filed by the ABASS camp officer.
It may be recalled that the ABASS spent about `7 lakh for setting up the water storage tank and pumpset, with a capacity of 5HP and the pipeline at Karimala. Since the water source is about 300 metres down the hill, the ABASS will now face tremendous difficulties in restoring the pipeline and restarting the free food facility at Karimala, Velayudhan Nair said.