Ayyappa Seva Samajam shows the way

published on December 13, 2009

More pilgrim help centres soon at Sabarimala
By P T Mohanan Pillai – www.expressbuzz.com

SABARIMALA: The Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam, which opened 60 pilgrim assistance centres in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala during its first year of functioning, will widen its activities by setting up another 40 centres in the next pilgrim season.

Talking to this paper, Samajam national general secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan said that the samajam, which offers medicated drinking water, free food, resting place, medical assistance and information service at its centres, would provide round-the-clock service at its base camp at Perunadu and Erumely during the peak Makaravilakku days.

Of the proposed 40 additional centres, 20 will be in the state, five each in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and 10 in Tamil Nadu, Kummanam said.

At its 17-acre Perunadu centre, free food is being offered three times a day to about 5,000 pilgrims at present.

This service will be made round-the-clock during peak pilgrimage days, Kummanam said. In addition to the facilities, the samajam is offering free ambulance service to the pilgrims at Perunadu, he said.

To prevent exploitation of thousands of pilgrims during the peak Makaravilakku days, the samajam’s Perunadu centre will provide free food to the pilgrims who camp at Plappally to witness Makarajyothi, Kummanam said.

At its Erumely centre, the samajam is offering free food to about 6,000 to 8,000 pilgrims a day at present.

This will be widened during the peak Pettathullal days of January second week, he said.

At its Pathanamthitta facility, the samajam will provide free food to an additional 1,000 pilgrims as against 2,000 pilgrims at present, he said.

Kummanam said that the samajam’s centres in other states, especially in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, are providing free food to hundreds of pilgrims per day.

The response from the local people, especially the ‘guruswamis’ of those areas, to the samajam service centres is overwhelming, he said.

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