THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The cleaning and maintenance works of the Mithranandapuram pond used by the priests of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple for their morning ablutions have again come to a halt. The local residents and office-bearers of the Mithranandapuram Theerthakulam Samrakshana Samithi allege that the City Corporation has left the project midway.
‘’What the Corporation has done is an eyewash. The sludge has not been removed fully and the dilapidated sidewalls are left untouched,’’ said V Ravikumar, general secretary of the Samithi.
The poor condition of the pond, which has great significance in the culture and history of the capital, had invited much public wrath in the past. ‘Mannuneeru vaaral’, an important ritual during the annual festivals of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, is held in the pond.
When the City Corporation and the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple management refused to act, the Samithi moved the High Court last year. The Devaswom secretary, District Collector, Corporation Secretary and Mathilakam secretary were the respondents in the case. A Division Bench of the Court, on August 24 last year, directed the District Collector and the Corporation to take immediate efforts to clean up the pond. The Court also criticised the temple management for its inaction.
The City Corporation then prepared an estimate of ` 12.9 lakh for the maintenance works. But the Samithi alleges that not even half that amount was spent for the work, which lasted just 20 days.
Local councillor S Udayalakshmi said that the Corporation had completed the immediate works as directed by the Court. ‘’The Court direction was to clean up the pond and to cut the surrounding trees to facilitate the Nambis and other priests to take a comfortable bath,’’ Udayalakshmi said.
‘’The Corporation executed the works sincerely. An amount of ` 12 lakh was spent and the sidewalls could not be renovated as it required more funds,’’ she said.
Udayalakshmi also said the remaining works would be completed with the Plan fund of the Corporation.
Meanwhile, the delay in completing the works has irked devotees and locals. ‘’From 2002 onwards, we were asking the Corporation and the temple management to renovate the pond. Unfortunately, it required High Court intervention for the Corporation to act. Now they have cheated us again,’’ said M Subrahmanian, a local man. The Samithi office-bearers said that they would again approach the Court over the issue. ‘’We cannot sit idle till the pond regains its lost glory,’’ said Ravikumar.