Heavy maintenance work of Sabarimala roads soon

Heavy maintenance work on the three main roads leading to Sabarimala will begin in February, Minister for Public Works V.K. Ebrahim Kunju has said.

Mr. Kunju was inaugurating the work on the proposed Chethackal-Koothattuklulam road at Ranni on Monday.

He said the government had sanctioned Rs.58.45 crore for the heavy maintenance work on the Mannarakulani-Chalakkyam road, Kanamala- Elavumkal road, and the Kanjirappally- Erumeli road and the work would be completed before the beginning of the next Sabarimala pilgrim season. He said work on the Kanamala bridge at Kanamala on the Erumeli- Elavumkal road would begin in the next phase.

The Minister said the work on the ground floor of the proposed 12-storey pilgrim amenity complex at Ittiyappara at Ranni would begin soon and the project would be completed in four years. The funds required for the same would be sanctioned soon.

He said the PWD had taken over 8,570 km rural roads across the State from local self-government institutions after the United Democratic Front came to power.

Mr. Kunju said the government's policy was to sanction more bypasses and ring roads attached to major towns.

Road repair works

He said the PWD could carry out road repair works estimated at Rs.67.25 crore in Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Alappuzha, and Kottayam districts prior to the beginning of the last Sabarimala pilgrim season.

Raju Abraham, MLA, presided over the function. Anto Antony, MP, inaugurated a public meeting.

Mariyamma Cherian, Sosamma, district panchayat members; Benny Puthenparambil, Ranni block panchayat president, and K.E. Abdul Rahman, IUML district president, spoke on the occasion.


50:50 cost mooted for rail project

A fresh ray of hope has come into sight to bring Sabarimala on the railway map of the country with the cash-strapped Railways urging the State government to look into the feasibility of cost-sharing of at least 50 per cent of the Angamaly-Sabarimala rail project.

With this, Railways have placed the onus of kicking off the project on the State again. The project was sanctioned in 1997-98 andhad been hit by several hurdles, including land acquisition.

Union Minister for Railways Dinesh Trivedi in a recent letter to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy put forward the proposal of 50 per cent cost-sharing of the project and requested the State to forward a suitable proposal for consideration to his ministry.

The possibility of getting additional budget is remote at least in the near future for the Angamali-Sabarimala project that is “one of the un-remunerative projects that had not taken off owing to resource constraints and the huge throw-forward liability of the ongoing projects,” Mr. Trivedi said in the letter.

A way out has been found with State governments, particularly Jharkhand, Haryana, Karnataka and Rajasthan, coming forward with cost-sharing proposals ranging from 50 to 75 per cent of the latest estimate.

The Railway Minister said the Angamaly-Sabarimala rail line is very crucial to the development of the region and for fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Kerala. It was pointed out that the project was sanctioned on socio-economic consideration with the objective of rail link to the remote areas of Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta and to catalyse growth.

The proposal came close on the heels of the State's request to Railways to adopt the Fast Track Project (FTP) mode to acquire land for speedy completion of the project. Only 14.3 hectares of the total 515 hectares of land needed for the project had been acquired by the State and handed over to Railways. As many as 22 panchayats and four municipalities are covered.

Initially, Railways were in favour of laying the 130-km railway line from Angamaly to Azhutha. The stretch falls under forest area and as many as 11 tunnels had to be created between Erumeli and Azhutha. Besides, there was no added advantage in laying the railway line to Azhutha. Railways have now drastically changed the alignment and decided to terminate the railway line at Erumeli. By this, the proposed Sabari railway line would be only 117 km.

Already, the cost of the proposed project has gone up from the initial estimate of Rs. 550 crore to Rs.1,214 crore.

The Railway Board is also yet to clear the revised estimate and the alignment. The board has to take a decision in the wake of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Building Construction, Coastal Regulation Zone, Infrastructure Development and Miscellaneous projects deferring the project in the absence of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.


Ayyappa devotees meet held at Cherukolpuzha

Government would implement more pilgrim-amenity projects at Sabarimala in the next eight months itself, said V.S.Sivakumar, Devaswom Minister.

The Minister was inaugurating the Ayyappa devotees’ meet held as part of the 100th annual Hindu religious meet at Cherukolpuzha near Kozhencherry on Thursday.

Mr. Sivakumar said the work on the proposed sewage treatment plant at Sabarimala would begin this year itself and the heavy maintenance of the main trunk roads leading to Sabarimala, estimated at 60 lakhs, would also be launched soon.

The Minister said roofing of the entire Pampa-Sannidhanam stretch of the Sabarimala path would carried before the beginning of the next annual pilgrim season.

Kanchi seer seeks law against conversion

Delivering the benedictory speech, Swami Jayendra Saraswati, Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetom, said the State Government should enact appropriate legislation to prevent conversion in Kerala too as was done in Tamil Nadu.

The Kanchi seer has called upon the Government to formulate a new education policy with special emphasis to check value erosion and instilling values in education and to further value erosion.

He said the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetom was ready to set up schools with more emphasis on value addition in different parts of the State, provided the Government allotted land for the same.

Swami Satchidananda Saraswati of Vivekananda Yogashram at Thodupuzha presided. P.Venugopal, District Collector, D.Narayana Sarma from Thiruvananthapuram and Swami Vijayabhaskarananda of Kidangannur Vijayananda Ashram, also spoke.

The Kanchi Seer inaugurated the Vidyadhiraja Cultural Centre on the banks of river Pampa at Cherukolpuzha, later.


Five days monthly poojas for the Malayalam month of Kumbham

The hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala was opened for the five-day monthly poojas for the Malayalam month of Kumbham on Monday.
Melsanthi G Balamurali opened the Sreekovil of the temple at 5.30 am in the presence of thantri Kandararu Maheswararu. As a practice, hardly any ritual was conducted at the temple in the evening.
Laksharchana onFebruary 18
Laksharchana would be conducted at the temple on February 18, Sabarimala executive officer M Satheeshkumar said. Satheeshkumar said that Sahasrakalasam and Kalabhabhishekam would be the special rituals to be held at the temple.
Udayasthamana pooja, Padi pooja and Pushpabhishekam would be held on all the days of the monthly pooja. The temple will be closed on February 18 evening after Athazha pooja and Harivarsanam.


Heavy rush at Sabarimala

The holy hillock of Sabarimala witnessed heavy rush as devotees from different parts of South India undertook pilgrimage to the Lord Ayyappa temple on the first day of the Malayalam month of Kumbhom on Tuesday.

Melsanthi N. Balamurali opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5 a.m. and the rituals began with Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu performing the Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati homom by 5.15 a.m. Ashtabhishekom and Neyyabhishekom were performed later.

The auspicious Sahasrakalasabhishekom and Kalabhabhishekom were performed prior to the Utchapuja.

The Brahmakalasoms were taken out in a ceremonial procession to the sanctum sanctorum, with the accompaniments of the sacred Marappani and other traditional temple percussion prior to the Utchapuja. The sandal paste (kalabhom) offered to the presiding deity was distributed as prasadom to the devotees, later.

Udayasthamanapuja, Pushpabhishekom and Padipuja were the other special rituals held at Sabarimala on Tuesday.

Temple Executive Officer M. Satishkumar told The Hindu that a Laksharchana would be performed at the Ayyappa Temple on February 18.

The Ayyappa Temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja on February 18 evening, marking the culmination of the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Kumbhom.

Kalabhabhishekom and Sahasrakalasabhishekom will be held at the Ayyappa shrine on the all the five days, Mr. Satishkumar said.


Temple opens tomorrow (Feb 13th)

The hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala will open for the five-day monthly poojas for the Malayalam month of Kumbham on February 13 evening.

Melsanthi G Balamurali will open the sreekovil at 5.30 pm in the presence of thantri Kandararu Maheswararu. Sahasrakalasam and kalabhabhishekam would be the special rituals to be held on all the five days at the temple.

Laksharchana would be held on February 18.


۩ Ayyappa DevoteeZ ۩

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