The Kerala High Court on Saturday directed the District Collectors of Idukki, Kottayam, and Pathanamthitta districts to entrust executive magistrates with the duty of monitoring the vendors who exact exorbitant rates for goods from the Sabarimala pilgrims.
The special Devaswom Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice A V Ramakrishna Pillai made it clear that the Forest Department or the Eco Development Committees should not raise any objection to the orders passed by the executive magistrates.
“The police chiefs of Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam should provide the necessary assistance to the executive magistrates,” the court said. A directive has been issued to the forest officials to make sure that goods are being sold to pilgrims only at a reasonable and fair price. The court directed the authorities that `15 MRP should be exhibited on the ‘Sabari Jalam’ bottles.
The court also directed the state government to make alternative arrangements for the supply of bottled drinking water at fixed rates along the traditional trekking route. Modifying an earlier order regarding the entry of pilgrims at night through the traditional trekking route, the court directed the authorities to permit entry after 6 pm.
On the basis of an e-mail report of the Sabarimala Special Commissioner, the court directed the Kerala Water Authority to take immediate steps to supply water to the temporary health clinic at Karimala which is reeling under water shortage.
The police have been asked to manage the heavy rush and to control the movement of the pilgrims.
“The Forest and Police Departments will act in liaison to ensure that there is a safe passage for the pilgrims through the traditional trekking path even after sun set,” the court said.