Big challenges ahead for new TDB president
By Abhilash Chandran | Published: 12th November 2012 12:08 PM |
While the newly appointed president of the Travancore Devaswom Board M P Govindan Nair is to take charge on Monday, a series of challenges, including lack of adequate infrastructure facilities, complaints over the quality and availability of appam and aravana, conflict with the Akhila Bharatha Ayyapa Seva Sangham (ABASS), is awaiting him. However, Govindan Nair, a senior-most Congress leader from Kottayam, is cool enough to tackle any issue.
Giving prominence to providing maximum facilities to the pilgrims who flock from various states, Govindan Nair plans to give preference to only those projects which would be feasible to be worked out. “Preference will be based on what we could do with our existing resources rather than declaring too many projects as I would not like to step down without accomplishing any projects,” Govindan Nair told ‘Express.’
According to him, the paramount initiative would be to take the advantage of the goodwill of the large number of devotees from other states and to utilise it for the developmental activities which would be beneficial to them.
“We hope to develop infrastructure facilities by creating mid-centres at Nilakkal and places adjacent to Pampa using the financial aid from other states.
“ The primary objective of the initiative is to curb the rush of devotees at Sannidhanam. If we provide good shelter, food and other facilities here they may be allowed to occupy this shelter and the congestion can be controlled thereof. The devotees from other states, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, wish to stay here for two-three days,” he said. He added that one of the southern states has already allocated `50 crore for Sabarimala.
He said the much-expected ropeway project to transport freights from Pampa to Sannidhanam can be implemented with the assistance of private agencies. “TDB alone cannot bear the huge financial burden of the project. We will seek the assistance of private companies or sponsors,” he said.
According to him, the TDB will not only expand its annadanam (free food) project, but also utilise the assistance of voluntary organisations like ABASS. “The ABASS members have raised apprehensions over curtailing the facilities provided to them at Erumeli and Sannidhanam for offering annadanam. We will appropriately resolve this taking into account the facts behind the issues. There won’t be any step on the part of the TDB to discourage the services of the voluntary organisations,” Govindan Nair said.
However, he dismissed the demand to make parking, ablutions and food free of cost to all the devotees, using the income from the TDB. “Parking and ablutions are the major revenue sources of the board and that cannot be made free as a populist measure without considering other sources of income,” he said.
He also ruled out the possibilities of constituting an exclusive body under the control of TDB to effectively implement projects saying it would create tussle between TDB and the new body.
Govindan Nair said that stringent steps would be taken against traders who exploit the devotees who go on foot to Pampa through Erumeli-Azhutha Kadavu-Kalaketty-Kallidamkunnu traditional route.