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Move to widen area under tiger reserve to hit Sabarimala projects

Authority has come up with a draft proposal to bring additional one-km aerial distance under PTR; it will then cover places like Nilakkal, Chalakkayam and Vattappara

Published: 14th December 2019 06:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th December 2019 06:03 AM   |  A+A-

A herd of elephants resting near Thekkady dam in the Periyar Tiger Reserve | VINCENT PULICKAL

Express News Service

SABARIMALA: In a severe jolt to Sabarimala development plans, the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) Authority has come up with a proposal to widen the area of the reserve forest.The authority’s draft proposal to widen the area to another one-kilometre aerial coverage will hamper plans to provide more facilities for pilgrims. Though Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple is located in the fringe areas of PTR, the restrictions already imposed by the forest authorities have stalled several important projects that would have improved the basic facilities for pilgrims.

From the present boundary of PTR that comes up to the Pampa river where Lord Ganapathi temple is located, the draft proposal of one-kilometre additional aerial distance will cover Chalakkayam, Nilakkal, Attathode tribal settlement, Kisumam, Narayananthodu, Vattappara and Pampavalley in Pathanamthitta district and Angel Valley and Kanamala in Kottayam district, the source said.

The new move to widen the area of PTR would cause severe bottlenecks for the Travancore Devaswom Board in the near future, the source said.

The important projects that will be affected by PTR restrictions include Kunnar dam storage capacity augmentation, which is the important water source of Sabarimala, Pampa-Sannidhanam ropeway project and the government guest house whose foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan three years ago.

It may be recalled that after the Pulmedu tragedy, which claimed lives of 104 pilgrims, the reaction was to bring Pulmedu under PTR, making the area forbidden for Sabarimala pilgrims.

Important projects that will be affected by PTR restrictions
■ Kunnar dam storage capacity augmentation, which is the important water source of Sabarimala
■ Pampa-Sannidhanam ropeway project
■ The government guest house whose foundation stone was laid by the Chief Minister three years ago

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