Sabarimala not ready for pilgrims

While the Sabarimala season is on the anvil, the authorities are yet to implement the installation of the battery powered light en route from Sannidhanam to Sabarimala, and in Pullumedu where tragedy claimed the lives of many pilgrims.

This is when preparations should be going on at high speed considering the starting of the season in November.

The Justice Hariharan Nair Commission that investigated the cause of the Pullumedu tragedy, in its recommendations to the government, pointed outthat the emergency installation of battery lights were imperative if one wanted to avert the recurrence of what happened in Pullumedu.

As many as 102 pilgrims were killed in a stampede on Jan. 14, 2011, in Pullumedu. The tragedy occurred when thousands of pilgrims rushed downhill simultaneously after sighting the Makara Jyoti.

The commission also found that the lack of light and sufficient police personnel for crowd-control, uncontrolled parking of vehicles in an area where tens of thousands of pilgrims assembled, caused the disaster.

The obstruction caused by a metallic chain installed by the forest department across the path was also reportedly another reason for the accident.

Travancore devaswom board president M. Rajagopal Nair blamed the government for not implementing the commission’s recommendations.

“It is for the government to implement the decisions, including the installation of the light en route from Sannidhanam to Sabarimala, and in Pullumedu,” Nair told DC.

Nair said it was imperative to install the facilities for the safety of the pilgrims. He said the board was going to take over the ‘Panchaly medu’ (a hill, where a temple and 20 acres of land) to expand space for the pilgrims. .

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