Thiruvananthapuram: The government on Wednesday said elaborate facilities will be put in place for devotees for the Mandala-Makaravilaku season.
This was announced by devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran at the meeting of officials of southern states. In the absence of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the devasom board minister inaugurated the meeting. Endowment and temple affairs’ ministers of southern states were conspicuous by their absence.
While the minister attributed the absence to pressing political and administrative requirements in their respective states, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the ministers stayed away in protest against the government stand on Sabarimala issue.
Giving details of the facilities being put in place, Kadakampally said arrangements have been made for 10,000 pilgrims and parking facilities at the Nilakkal base camp.
He informed the meeting that the government was committed to implementing Supreme Court verdict allowing women between the age group of 10 to 50 and sought the cooperation of all states for the same.
Kadakampally said KSRTC will start chain services from Nilakkal to Pamba to mitigate transportation problems of the pilgrims. Private vehicles will not be allowed along this stretch.
He said the green protocol implemented last year will continue. Plastic will not be allowed even in irumudi kettu. Kadkampally said the government and dev-aswom board were able to implement the green protocol in Sabarimala to a great extent.
This time an extensive campaign about implementation of green protocol was conducted in five states early on. The minister said the government was going ahe-ad with the slogan “plastic free Sabarimala”.
Emergency medical centres will be established along the route where services of cardiologists who are proficient in different languages, will be deputed to provide medical help to devotees.
A toll free number will be introduced to provide help to the devotees in any emergency. The dedicated number will be monitored by senior officers. Centralised control rooms will be opened in the area where officials well versed with different languages will be deployed.
Annadanam counters will be opened in Pamba and Sanidhanam to provide food to the devotees. The quality, price, quantity will be monitored by officials concerned.
The officials of the so-uthern states urged the government to provide adequate drinking water facilities and toilets besides improving basic infrastructure facilities at Pamba, Sannidhanam and NiIackal.
The officials from Tam-il Nadu sought a dedicated control room at a single point. They suggested that the control room should be headed by a top official and it should be able to provide all information under one roof. Karnataka wanted government to reduce bus tariff for devotees.
The minister was upset with senior officials who left the meeting mid way. Additional chief secretary Rajeev Sadanandan and Transport Commis-sioner Tomin Thachank-ary left meeting early.
Thachankary’s absen-ce during discussions on KSRTC and transportation facilities irked the minister. “I will bring the matter to the notice of the chief minister,” he said.
Tamil Nadu additional chief secretary Apoorva Varma, Karnataka revenue secretary Gangar-am Babariya, Telangana vigilance joint commissioner M.F.D Krishnav-eni, Andhra Pradesh SE Subbarao, Puducherry devaswom commissioner Thillaivel took part in the meeting. Travancore Devaswom Board president A Padmakumar, member K.P. Sankara-das, devaswom secretary K.R. Jyothilal, Sabarim-ala advisory board chairman T.K.A. Nair, DGP Loknath Behara and De-vaswom Commissoiner N. Vasu attended....