TDB plans insurance scheme for Sabarimala pilgrims

The board is of the view that a good policy could be implemented for a premium of up to Rs 5.
Sabarimala temple
Sabarimala templePhoto | Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major initiative, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) plans to introduce an optional insurance scheme for pilgrims visiting the Sabarimala temple. As part of the move, the board will hold a meeting of insurance companies within two weeks.

“The plan is in the nascent stage. The meeting is to know the packages that the companies can offer. A suitable proposal will be selected through a fair process,” said TDB president P S Prasanth, adding that a final decision requires the state government’s sanction. The board aims to implement the scheme from the next mandalam-makaravilakku season.

The board is of the view that a good policy could be implemented for a premium of up to Rs 5. As per the plan, pilgrims can make this payment at the time of Virtual Queue booking, the online booking system for darshan. The Virtual Queue booking will be opened three months ahead of the start of mandalam-makaravilakku season.

At present, the board has a scheme which is being implemented in partnership with United India Insurance Company.

“The board pays the annual premium for the current scheme. But it has only limited benefits. Under this, Rs 5 lakh compensation is given for accident deaths on the Sabarimala premises. In case of other deaths, Rs 30,000 is given as ambulance costs within the state and Rs 50,000 for those from outside,” he said.

“The new scheme is aimed at enhancing the scope of compensation,” says Prasanth. “In the last season alone, more than 20 people died due to various reasons like heart attack and respiratory ailments. We wish to cover all such deaths under the new scheme,” Prasanth added.

Meanwhile, the TDB president rejected allegations that the board plans to levy charges for Virtual Queue booking. “We do not have any plan to charge fees for darshan. The insurance premium will go directly to the company,” he said.

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