Rs 80 crore allotted by Centre for Sabarimala development likely to lapse

Sabarimala Temple
Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala. Photo: Nikhilraj P/Manorama

Sabarimala: A sum of Rs 80 crore out of the Rs. 100 crore sanctioned by the Central government for the development of Sabarimala under its “Swadeshi Darsan” pilgrim tourism scheme may lapse.

Projects costing only Rs. 20 crore have been included in the master plan and have received the approval. Even as the deadline of December 31 nears, the projects started after obtaining the nod too have not been completed.

It was in December 2015 that the Centre had sanctioned Rs. 100 crore. The first tranche of Rs. 20 crore was released on the condition that the project should be completed in 36 months.  However, the failings of the Devaswom Board, the State government and the high power committee in preparing the project reports and a dispute with the Forest department caused a setback.

After the Centre issued a directive that the constructions should be carried out on the basis of the master plan, the Forest department hardened its stand. This turned into a dispute over the boundary of the Forest and Devaswom lands. Owing to this, the master plan layout could not be finalised.

The High Court intervened and fixed the boundaries after ordering a survey of the Devaswom land under an advocate commissioner. The High Court accepted the report of the advocate commissioner and ended the dispute.

However, even after this, neither the Devaswom Board nor the high power committee took any initiatives to execute the project. The chief project under the first instalment of Rs. 20 crore was paving of granite blocks on the Neelimala road. The outlay for the work was Rs. 14.45 crore. But even this work has not been completed.

The only achievement is the completion of the renovation work of the Pampa bathing ghat at a cost of Rs. 4.5 crore. The work of installing water kiosks too is pending.

Sabarimala Heritage Tourism Project moving at a snail's pace

The projects submitted to the Centre  

At Sannidhanam

Two health kiosks (Rs. 64.25 lakh), new roads of 500 metre at curves (Rs. 5.04 crore), queue complex at Saramkuthi (Rs. 6.82 crore), pilgrim centre (Rs. 90.56 lakh), prasadam counter (Rs. 6.80 crore), hall (Rs. 49.50 lakh), seating arrangements (Rs. 3.97 crore), stage (Rs. 4.11 crore), and reverse osmosis potable water plant (Rs. 45.31 lakh). 

At Pampa

Kiosks (Rs. 46.20 lakh), parking ground (Rs. 6.38 crore), footpath (Rs. 4.43 crore), hall (Rs. 59.21 lakh), shower on the bank of the Pampa (Rs. 43.34 lakh), five toilet complexes (Rs. 2.55 crore), non-biodegradable waste processing plant (Rs. 80.13 crore), garbage processing plant (Rs. 1.56 crore), drinking water fountain (Rs. 48.58 lakh), and electrification (Rs. 93.75 lakh).

At Neelimala

Health kiosks (Rs. 1.10 crore), security cabin (Rs. 15.8 crore), ramp (Rs .41.7 crore), CCTV camera (Rs. 40.95 lakh), and path for movement of tractors (Rs. 1.69 crore).


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