Centre vs Kerala on Sivagiri circuit project

After inaugurating the Sivagiri pilgrimage circuit, Mr Alphons explained the project in detail.

Thiruvananthapuram: State tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran has slammed the BJP government and the Sivagiri Sanyasis for "narrow politics."

He said the state introduced the tourism circuit and other projects and the centre taking them over will affect federal relations.

He was in Sivagiri along with Union tourism minister K. J. Alphons who laid the foundation stone for Sivagiri pilgrimage circuit on Sunday.

The circuit covers Sivagiri Sree Narayana Guru Ashram, Aruvippuram, Kunnumpuram Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple and Sree Narayana Gurukulam, Chempazhanthy.

What irked him was the decision to entrust the project with the ITDC. He said the state had not opposed the move. He also described Sivagiri sanyasis as narrow-minded.

After inaugurating the Sivagiri pilgrimage circuit, Mr Alphons explained the project in detail. He said his ministry had sanctioned seven projects in the state under the Swadesh Darshan and Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (Prasad) scheme with an estimate of Rs 550 crore, but the state took no initiative to implement.

He said Kerala's future lies in exploring the possibilities of tourism.

"We wish the ITDC will make the project more efficient," he said.

"I wish BDJS leader Thushar Vellappally to take over the project."

Swami Vishuddhananda, president of Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham Trust, praised the BJP government the party's president Amit Shah for the project.

Replying to Mr Surendran's allegations, Swami Saradananda, treasurer of the Sivagiri Mutt, said sanyasis here don't have vested political interests.

The centre sanctioned the Rs 69.47 crore project last month to develop facilitation centres, beautification and landscaping, meditation/yoga centre, public conveniences, battery-operated vehicles, drinking water facility, craft bazaar, bus shelters, audiovisual virtual reality show, wayside amenities, amphitheatre and last mile connectivity, etc.

Swami Vishuddhananda presided over the function.

A Sampath, MP, Richard Hay MP, V. Joy MLA, SNDP Yogam vice-president Thushar Vellappally, ITDC chairperson Ravneet Kaur, director Padmakumar, engineering wing vice-president Ravi Pandit and Varkala Municipality chairperson Bindu Haridas attended.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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