THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran said that Sabarimala had achieved record earnings this ‘mandala season’. If last year the shrine had collected Rs 210 crore, this time it was Rs 255 crore, an increase of Rs 45 crore.
The minister said that the increase in income proved that devotees had not believed the widely circulated falsehood that the government was looting Sabarimala money.
“Now most people are convinced that the state government does not usurp the revenues of Sabrimala,” Mr Surend-ran said.“Fact is, the state spends crores during every pilgrimage season. This season alone, the government had spent Rs 38 crore for various construction activities. This is Rs 6 crore more than what was spent last year. And this is beside the money spend for the implementation of the Sabarimala Master Plan,” the minister added.
The devaswom minister said that seven works under the Master Plan were already completed. This include the Rs 21.70 crore waste treatment plant that can treat 5 million units of waste, and the Rs 12 crore queue and rest complexes along the Marakottam-Shara-mkuthi road.
He said that steps had been initiated for the start of the first phase of the 10-million-unit waste treatment plant at Pampa. “Once the plant is completed, Pampa will be rid of garbage,” the minister said.
He said that the state government would examine whether the facilities provided at Tirupati Thirumala Venketeswara Temple, those suited to Sabarimala, could be provided at the shrine.
"An expert committee will soon leave for Tirupati. Andhra Prades-h Chief Minister Chand-rababu Naidu has offered all possible assistance," the minister said. He, however, said that all development activities in Sabarimala would be so structured as to suit a shrine in the middle of a forest.