'Facilities free of cost for pilgrims'
By Express News Service | Published: 15th November 2013 12:56 PM |
Subhash Vasu, member, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), has said that basic facilities will be offered to pilgrims free of cost at Sabarimala and Pampa.
Addressing a Meet the Press programme organised by the Press Club on Thursday, he said that, as part of the service, primary facilities such as toilets numbering about 1,200 and bathrooms at ‘sannidanam’ will be provided free of cost to pilgrims during the season.
For offering free food to pilgrims, two ‘annadana mandapams’ will be constructed at a cost of `15 crore near Malikappuram temple on a sponsorship basis, Subash Vasu said. He alleged that the negative attitude of the Forest Department in clearing the project proposal caused the inordinate delay in constructing the facilities. When completed, pilgrims will get free food round-the-clock at sannidanam, he added. At Pampa, in addition to the existing ‘annadana mandapam’, a semi-permanent building located near the foot overbridge will be used as a free food distribution facility, the TDB member added.
Subhash Vasu said that the process of awarding contract for constructing the sannidanam sewage treatment plant has reached the final stage. The first phase of the `22 crore sewage treatment plant will be completed before the beginning of the next pilgrimage season. The TDB will give top priority for constructing the ‘valiyanada pandal’, with the twin objective of providing a resting place and queue path for about 30,000 pilgrims. He said that the board has achieved transparency in the tendering process via e-tendering. The TDB has achieved an all-time record revenue of about `27 crore through the e-tendering process, as against last season’s `22 crore. The TDB could save `4 crore by sourcing jaggery from UP, he said.