Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam, Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham Voluntary Services for Sabarimala Pilgrims

Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam, Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham Voluntary Services for Sabarimala Pilgrims…

The voluntary organisations engaged in offering free service to the pilgrims, including Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam and Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham, are planning to widen the coverage within the state and in the neighbouring states in the forthcoming pilgrimage season.

Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam national general secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan told Express that the Samajam would widen its pilgrim helpline centre network to 100 in the coming pilgrimage season from 70. Of the new 30 helpline centres, 10 would be formed in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Kerala, five each in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Rajasekharan said.

Kummanam Rajasekharan said the attitude of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) towards voluntary organisations in providing facilities for Sabarimala pilgrims should be positive. For example, work on the Samajam’s multi-storeyed free food distribution centre is stalled by the TDB citing baseless reasons.

Even after issuing a directive by the Devaswom Bench of the Kerala High Court to the TDB for the removal of hurdles for continuing with the construction of the annadanam complex, the Devaswom authorities have failed to act on it, he said.

The Samajam undertakes voluntary service, including free food distribution to lakhs of pilgrims at its outlets at Sannidhanam and other centres from the donations of the devotees, he said. As a charitable institution, the Samajam gets annual clearance from the authorities after getting its accounts undergoing audit, he said.

Rajasekharan urged the authorities concerned to initiate steps to provide basic facilities at the Nilackal pilgrim transit camp. He said the TDB should take necessary measures at the earliest to resolve the drinking water crisis on a permanent basis instead of banking on other alternatives like arranging water in tanker lorries. The proposed Kerala Water Authorities project prepared by its chief engineer Sreekumaran Nair on utilising water from Kakkad hydel project should be implemented, so that lakhs of pilgrims at Nilackal and the two panchayats of Seethathode and Chittar will be benefitted.

Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham general secretary N Velayudhan Nair urged the government to take urgent steps to provide more infrastructural facilities for Sabarimala pilgrims.

As the state gets an average ` 10,000 crore annually from cess collection from petrol and diesel sale and border check-posts, the government is duty-bound to take up projects, including infrastructure for pilgrims. Nair said the government should do the needful to develop the Pulmedu forest route from Vandiperiyar, for the pilgrims from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Courtesy – The New Indian Express.

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