Travancore Devaswom Board discourages feeding pilgrims

DC | RAKESH NAIR
Published Nov 18, 2014, 11:56 am IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 1:36 pm IST
TDB asks voluntary organisations to deposit exorbitant caution money with the board
The pressure tactics of Sabarimala officials include denying water and electricity for voluntary organisations which serve free food after paying for electricity.
 The pressure tactics of Sabarimala officials include denying water and electricity for voluntary organisations which serve free food after paying for electricity.

SABARIMALA: Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has officially requested Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to have a relook into the Travancore Devaswom Board’s (TDB) new policies that discourage voluntary organisations from serving free food (annadanam) to lakhs of devotees.

In what has been seen as a technique to help around 100 private eateries that serve mostly low quality food for high rates, the TDB has asked voluntary organisations to deposit exorbitant caution money with the board.

 

A caution deposit of Rs 10,000 has to be given to the board and this can go up to Rs 1 lakh during peak season. Apart from this is an additional Rs 1 lakh caution deposit which is collected for waste disposal.

The pressure tactics of Sabarimala officials include denying water and electricity for voluntary organisations which serve free food after paying for electricity.

Though, last year, similar charges were applicable for seva sanghams which were not registered in Kerala, the charges could not be levied as most of the out-of- the- State voluntary organisations had subsidiaries registered in and around Pathanamthitta. However, the TDB has chosen to charges all of them this year.

 

“Last year, we had requested them to allow us to build a permanent annandanam facility behind Malikapuram temple but we were not allowed to do so.

Last season, we served close to six lakh pilgrims for around 21 hours. This time the TDB commissioner decided to enforce a check on us. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has promised the Labour Minister that the matter would be looked into,” said Sudarshan Reddy, vice president of All India Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam.

Devaswom Minister V.S. Sivakumar refused to answer queries related to the issue claiming ignorance about the whole thing.

 

Though there are free anndanam facilities by the Devaswom Board at Sannidhanam, many pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh were seen lamenting over the dearth of homely meals here. During peak hours the TDB annadanam counters grossly fail to meet the pilgrims’ requirements.

...
Location: Kerala




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