SABARIMALA: TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan on Sunday expressed the need to issue special passes to pilgrims, who opt for the Karimala traditional forest route to visit Lord Ayyappa.
Talking to the Express, Prayar, who trekked the 35-km-long Azhutha-Karimala-Pampa forest path along with Devaswom chief engineer Sankaran Potti on Saturday, said the pilgrims who trek the Erumely-Valiyanavattom-Pampa forest route should be given special passes on arrival at Karimala.
The special pass, on the lines of virtual queue passes, should be given to the pilgrims to prevent them from languishing in a jampacked queue between Marakoottam and Saramkuthi, Prayar said.For the purpose, a joint meeting of forest, police and devaswom authorities would be convened to work out the modalities for implementation.
The TDB president said that the pilgrims are facing hardships on the trekking path at Karimala due to the lack of water.Prayar said that the Karimala free food centre of the Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham stopped the supply of medicated water and free food at Karimala last week due to the lack of water.Drying up of a well about 60 feet below the hill-top was the cause for water scarcity and the subsequent crisis, he said.
On a visit to Karimala, a water source was located 2 km downhill and the Forest Department authorities allowed the ABASS Karimala camp to avail of the facility by storing the water in tanks at locations, one at a distance of one km and another at two km, Prayar said.
Police high-handedness flayed
The TDB president expressed anguish over the high-handedness of the police personnel on the hapless pilgrims.Prayar said a section of the police personnel used sticks to control the pilgrims in the queue and reportedly used force on pilgrims at Sopanam.