THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the Mandala-Makaravilakku season of Sabarimala temple commencing on November 17, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) is in a fix as several development works to be carried out at the Sanidhanam, Pampa and Nilakkal will be delayed due to the restrictions on spending following the election model code of conduct coming into effect.
The TDB, which had lost around Rs 150 crore due to the reduced volume of pilgrim flow to the temple following the troubles over the entry of women, was trying to recoup the losses in the coming season and was in the process of carrying out several maintenance works at the three sites. While the state government had promised Rs 100 crore to make up for the loss of revenue in the previous season, it hadn’t materialise till Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran took a strong stand following which the finance department cleared `30 crore.
However, with the model code of conduct in place, money cannot be transferred for the development and maintenance works and the board is in a quandary as it is expecting a huge turnout of devotees this season. “The board does not have a problem in this. We are carrying out maintenance and I think we will continue with the works which have already commenced. This will not lead to the violation of code of conduct,” K P Sankaradas, TDM member, told Express.
The TDB headquarters is in Thiruvananthapuram and with the Vattiyoorkavu assembly byelection being declared, the district falls under the model code of conduct. Similarly, Konni which is also going to the polls is in Pathanamthitta district, as is Sabarimala temple, and hence the code of conduct will be in force.