“Let Government leave Sabarimala alone”- Devotees

published on December 2, 2007

Pilgrims’ woes intensify as devotees throng Sabarimala

Pioneer News Service | Pathanamthitta

With devotees thronging Sabarimala, the woes of the pilgrims have been intensified in the temple town. The trains passing through Kottayam and Pathanamthitta are running in their full capacity and reverberate with Saranam Ayyappa bhajans of the devotees, who have gathered from all over the country.

Even long distance trains like Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Super Fast and the Kerala Express from New Delhi are reaching the town in their full capacity. According to the passengers, who travelled in the Kerala Express along with Sabarimala pilgrims, the train even lacks some basic arrangements for the pilgrims, even fresh drinking water.

To add to their woes, Sabarimala is totally devoid of several things and this year, the total lack efficient planning is reflected in the fact that the toilet wastes are being directly emptied into the sacred river Pampa where thousands of devotees take the customary dip.

The pilgrims are also facing the difficulties in standing in long queues under the torrid sun, with the pandals ill equipped to cater to the needs of the devotees. As the number of pilgrims reaching the hill shrine mounts with every passing day, the quality of the facilities sliding even as the Devaswom Board fails to take corrective measures.

While the second part has to be ruled out as a huge majority of pilgrims do not care for any facility, the lack of will on the part of the Board is a worrying factor for the current conditions at Sabarimala.

The non-availability of ample Aravana and the restriction inflicted on the pilgrims by the Board has given wrong signals and outstation pilgrims are clearly annoyed in the manner in which the Board is treating the devotees. The shortage of Aravana was not an issue which erupted one fine morning but has been in existent ever since there are moves to award the contract to some one else .The issue has far reaching consequences as a negative publicity has already started in several South Indian States .The arrogance of the Devaswom employees and the treatment meted out on the pilgrims is a clear pointer to what is happening in one of the most important South Indian temples.

The access roads are in a poor condition and Siva Subramaniam, a pilgrim who is visiting the hill shrine for the past thirty years told The Pioneer, “The roads are in a pathetic condition, I reached here with a backache. It’s sad that the State Government has not done anything to improve the condition of the roads I am surprised that when the Government knows that the Sabarimala season starts every year on the first of Vrischika, they have not done anything to make the pilgrimage easier for us.”

He angrily adds, “Please tell your Government and the Board that we have not come here to see hoardings highlighting their achievements but for the true love for lord Ayyappa. The Government has done nothing to even respect our feelings. Let Government leave Sabarimala alone, I am sure things would be better then.”

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