Sabarimala: A high-level meeting of the officials at Sabarimala was held on Sunday during which various issues relating to the facilities arranged for devotees for the annual two-month-long pilgrimage season were discussed.
Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who chaired the meeting at Sannidhanam area, assessed the flow of crowd and the facilities put in place.
"We had discussed the various facilities arranged at Nilackal, Pamba and Sannidhanam. We found some lapses which we will rectify in a day or two," Surendran told reporters after the meeting.
He said the issues of fund crunch were resolved after the government released Rs 30 crore of the Rs 100 crore allotted for the hilltop shrine.
"I hope this pilgrim season will solve the fund deficiency in the future," Surendran said. Police officials stationed at Pamba told PTI that till Sunday morning, around 28,540 devotees had climbed the hill.
Even though the TDB officials have claimed all the facilities are in place, police officials at Pamba are not satisfied with the telecom authorities.
Calls to the control room telephone number at Pamba went unanswered till 3 pm. "The telecom authorities could have given connection even before the season started on November 16. They are yet to fix the lines to the control room," a police official stationed at Pamba said.
Minister also said small vehicles will be allowed to drop passengers till Pamba and the KSRTC bus stand will adopt a queue system and a conductor will be appointed in the bus from Nilackal to Pamba.
During the last season, private vehicles were allowed only till Nilackal which is around 18 kms from Pamba, due to the frenzied protests by a section of devotees and the right-wing political parties.
The KSRTC buses used to ply devotees from Nilackal to Pamaba and back. "The vehicles will soon be able to drop devotees at Pamba and go back to Nilackal for parking," an official said.
The Lord Ayyappa temple here on Sunday witnessed heavy rush of devotees on the second day of the annual two-month-long Mandala-Makaravilakku puja pilgrimage season.
The Devaswom board, which manages temples in the state, has made elaborate arrangements to provide all possible amenities to devotees.
The unprecedented floods in August last year had played havoc with the pilgrimage season with most of the facilities for the devotees being destroyed.