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Kerala CM asserts there is no uncontrollable situation amidst surge in pilgrims in Sabarimala

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Kottayam (Kerala) | December 13, 2023 11:51:05 PM IST
Coming under attack from opposition parties, including the Congress and the BJP over the government's alleged failure in managing the sudden surge of pilgrims in Sabarimala, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said the situation at Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala was under control and asserted the government machinery was intervening diligently in temple matters.

Stating that the hill shrine generally witnesses heavy rush during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku season, which began from November 17 this year, CM Vijayan affirmed, "There is no uncontrollable situation in Sabarimala. Everything is under control in Sabarimala. The government has handled the whole situation with the utmost seriousness and we will move forward similarly."

The Chief Minister said that many pilgrims from nearby states like Tamil Nadu and Telangana could not come early due to floods in Chennai and assembly elections in Telangana. Now pilgrims have started coming from these states, which has resulted in a sudden increase in footfall, the CM said, adding that the visiting time has been increased by one hour to accommodate the influx.

"In the first days of the last Mandala season, the average number of pilgrims was 62,000 (per day) but it increased to 88,000 (per day) in the 4 days from December 6," CM Vijayan said.

Earlier, meetings were held to chalk out measures to ensure a hassle-free darshan. The decisions taken in those meetings will be strictly implemented. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also stressed the need for special attention to be arranged for women and child pilgrims.

Meanwhile, addressing the mismanagement concerns, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan acknowledged the challenges posed by the heavy rush during the main season, extending until January 15.

He emphasised that no untoward incident has occurred in Sabarimala but efforts should be made to disseminate the right information about the various measures put in place to control the crowd, thus preventing the rumours.

Governor Khan expressed regret over recent incidents, urging public representatives to raise the issue. He emphasized the accountability of responsible parties in addressing the mismanagement concerns.

"Sometimes mismanagement happens due to a heavy rush. It is the main season and will continue until January 15. Normally, they (the police force) do their jobs well. I am very sad about the incident that happened. Public representatives should raise the issue. Someone is responsible for the incident," Governor Khan said.

Earlier, NK Premachandran, a leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), alleged that no arrangement has been made by the state government to provide necessary facilities for devotees.

He added that a girl, aged 8 years, died standing in the queue and yet the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government took no proactive step for the protection of pilgrims.

However, Travancore Devaswom Board president PS Prashanth refuted the opposition United Democratic Front's (UDF) allegation that there are no basic amenities in Sabarimala temple. He termed the allegation politically motivated. (ANI)

 
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