In flood-affected Sabarimala, SC verdict on women’s entry adds to rebuilding woes, risk of stampede

The Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of girls people of all ages in the Sabarimala hill shrine has added to the woes of Kerala’s Left Democratic Front (LDF) authorities, which is reeling below the gigantic devastation triggered by the mid-August floods.
The temple itself had suffered a loss of over Rs A hundred crores on fable of damaged roads, bridges, constructions, toilets and other overall facilities. The shrine positioned at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta district used to be decrease off for added than every week following the flood in Pampa river.
Whereas diverse the damaged infrastructure are now not anticipated to be revived before the graduation of the annual pilgrimage season starting up 17 november, the apex court verdict has left the authorities with the daunting activity of creating extra facilities for ladies people within a immediate span of fifty days.
File image of devotees at Sabarimala temple. PTI
Even supposing the authorities are now not looking ahead to a vast speed of girls people at some level of the upcoming season, the authorities will can also tranquil be prepared to meet the exigency. The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which administers the shrine, is now focusing on restoring the existing damaged infrastructure. A senior TDB legit acknowledged that this might occasionally eradicate now not much less than three months to revive the damaged infrastructure.
“The authorities has build up a excessive-level committee to bustle up the works in search for of the upcoming season. We might possibly also be in a residence to revive diverse the misplaced facilities, but organising extra facilities for ladies people within the form of immediate time is an impossible activity,” acknowledged an legit, who selected to stay anonymous.
He acknowledged that the TDB will must set up facilities for now not simplest the fresh label of girls people devotees but moreover the supporting team of workers, who’re required to make certain their security and security. Whereas the ladies people devotees would want separate toilets, trekking route, resting locations, bathing areas and queue complexes, the ladies people police personnel to be deployed for their security will want separate accommodation facilities as properly.
Up to now simplest 20 ladies people police personnel used to be posted at Sabarimala at some level of the pilgrimage season. Their important accountability used to be to develop certain ladies people ragged between 10 and 50 raise out now not proceed to the shrine. But with the Supreme Court allowing ladies people of all ages to enter the Sabarimala shrine, ladies people police are required to be indicate now not simplest in the base camps but moreover on the temple premises.
Issue police chief Loknath Behra acknowledged that the desire of girls people police will can also tranquil be increased considerably to shoulder the extra responsibilities. He has convened a gathering of senior officers later in the day to mutter about the plot.
Behra acknowledged that implementing the court expose would pose a vast field for the affirm police. A serious field is the management of the pilgrim speed at 18 holy steps (‘Pathinettam padi’) and the queue arrive the temple. Handiest seventy five devotees can climb the steps in a minute at the moment. When the speed mounts, policemen literally pull the devotees along the steep steps.
The steps are narrow and hence it is now not conceivable to develop separate queue for ladies people.
But another plot of the police is the congested queues along the queue complex that begins from a steep and sloppy terrain. All the procedure via the season, the queue typically extends as much as several kilometres taking on to fifteen to 20 hours for the devotees to reach the temple, which is positioned at an altitude of 1,535 feet above mean sea level. This increases the chances of congestion, which the police officers feel can also very properly be misused by miscreants who sneak in as devotees.
The congestion might possibly moreover lead to stampedes, which have faith already claimed several lives at Sabarimala in the fresh years. Stampedes had been happening largely at some level of the Makara Sankranti when ideally obedient desire of devotees throng the hill top to stare the Makaravilakku (celestial mild).
A possibility overview implemented as portion of Crisis Management Thought at Sabarimala by the Institute of Land and Anguish Management has known eight system at possibility of stampedes. The opinion known these system in response to the crowd surge.
The chances for stampedes would amplify when ladies people moreover be half of the crowd. This can also very properly be refrained from by offering separate residence for ladies people. Then yet again, there isn’t enough land with the TDB in most of those system for organising a separate enclosure.
TDB president A Padmakumar acknowledged the ideally obedient field faced by the board in augmenting the facilities for pilgrims is residence constraints. The TDB at the moment has obtained simplest 50 acres of land at Sabarimala. It has been pleading with the wooded self-discipline division to allot A hundred acres extra at Sabarimala and 250 acres at Nilakkal for making improvements to overall facilities for the pilgrims.
Then yet again, the wooded self-discipline personnel are now not able to portion with extra land since it comes below the buffer zone of the tiger reserve, which desires to be stable for saving the wild lifestyles. P Easa, an educated on wild lifestyles, acknowledged the TDB has already encroached upon vast areas of the buffer zone and allocation of extra land would raise out vast injure to the wildlife corridor.
Environmental specialists are moreover appealing about the are attempting by the TDB to accomplish extra land for organising residential and commercial complexes at Sabarimala as it comes below the ecologically sensitive zone known by the Western Ghats Expert Ecology Panel (WGEEP) led by Madhav Gadgil.
The location in and around Sabarimala falls in eco sensitive zone 1 and 2 as per the customary Gadgil document and the subsequently modified document of the Kasthurirangan panel. Each reviews have faith suggested a ban on land order for non-wooded self-discipline capabilities or for agricultural order in zone 1 and no fresh constructions in zone 2.
VS Vijayan, a member of the WGEEP, acknowledged the introduction of extra facilities for ladies people devotees as per the SC verdict might possibly lead to fresh concrete construction at Sabarimala and warned that it might possibly possibly per chance invite one other ecological catastrophe luxuriate in the one which came about final month.
He moreover identified that your entire Western Ghats location does now not have faith enough strength to retain fresh constructions. The environmentalist acknowledged that allowing extra construction in the eco-sensitive residence without pondering its carrying capability will spell possibility.
The affirm authorities is already pondering solutions for now not allowing fresh constructions on the flood and landslide-hit areas. Padmakumar, on the opposite hand, acknowledged that TDB would high-tail for eco-faithful constructions for augmenting the facilities for the pilgrims.
Rahul Easwar, president of Ayyappa Dharma Sena and grandson of former Sabarimala chief priest acknowledged that the SC verdict would develop the pilgrimage hazardous now not correct for ladies people but moreover for the oldschool devotees visiting the shrine.

Updated Date: Sep 29, 2018 14:11 PM

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