SABARIMALA: The water purification plants set up at Sannidhanam, Pampa, and Nilakkal camps to provide pure potable water to the devotees have been non-functional this season. The plants, having an aggregate project cost of Rs 4.70 crore, were set up under the high-power committee of the Sabarimala Master Plan. They work on ultra-filter and ultra-violet (UF-UV) technology
The committee had cleared the plants in 2016-17, said sources. A Hyderabad-based company was awarded the contract to set up the plants, they said. The three plants can process 10,000 litres of water per hour. While the plant at Sannidhanam functioned partially during the 2016-17 and the 2017-18 pilgrimage season, it stopped working altogether in this season.
The Pampa plant functioned partially during the 2017-18 pilgrimage season and stopped working after the destruction in mid-August floods, said sources. The water purification plant at Nilakkal failed to take off even three years after getting clearance.The company awarded the contract also failed to install the proposed number of water dispensing kiosks at important locations.
The Sannidhanam plant, as per the contract, should have 100 water dispenser units (kiosks) spread over important locations at Valiya Nadapandal, Lower Thirumuttom, North Nada, Malikappuram and other places, sources said. However, the contractor installed only 35 kiosks. The installation of pipelines was also not done as per the contract, sources said.
At Pampa, 50 water dispenser units were proposed against which only 30 were installed during the period of operation. At the Nilakkal pilgrim camp 50 kiosks were proposed, but not a single one was set up, said sources.
Controversy over the delayed payment to the contractor was the cause for the non-functioning of the purification plants, sources said. The Hyderabad-based company which had taken up the contract did not respond despite repeated attempts.
More barricades erected at Sannidhanam
Sabarimala: In a surprise move, 15 more barricades were erected at North Nada and Lower Thirumuttom at Sannidhanam here on Sunday. This is in direct contrast to the recommendation of the High Court-appointed observers who had suggested to allow free flow of pilgrims at Sannidhanam.