Memorandum to Sri.D V Sadananda Gowda, Hon. Chief Minister of Karnataka
Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam [R]
Public Charitable Trust Reg. No:226/08
Central Office, Pathanamthitta-689645, Kerala, India
Phone: +91 468 2223741
No.367, I Main I Cross Jalakanteshwara Main Road
Malleshpalya, Bangalore – 560 075
Ph : 9945175081 / 9886780510
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Website: sabarimalaseva.org
Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa
Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam is a service organization working for the propagation and protection of Ayyappa Dharma. Registered as a Public Charitable Trust, the Samajam’s activities have spread throughout Andhra Pradhesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala within a short time. Service activities are being done through Committees at the State, District, Taluk and Village levels. Various Projects aimed at the growth of Ayyappa devotion and awareness of Dharma for developing social change have been envisaged and are being pursued.
Sabarimala the abode of Lord Ayyappa is situated in the midst of Sahyadri mountains. The idol installation is said to have been done by Sage Parasurama and
the temple was constructed under the supervision of Lord Viswakarma which is said to be 4800 – 5000 years old. Till 1950 the temple was directly administered by Panthalam King, later the Travancore Devasom Board took charge of the administration. Pilgrimage to this hill shrine temple is considered to be one of the most difficult and sacred one as every devotee has to follow stringent rules & regulation considered as Vratham to be followed prior and during the pilgrimage. The flow of devotees started after the film on lord Ayyappa was made in Malayalam and subsequently made in other south Indian languages. The prominent persons as Guruswamy’s who were instrumental in making the Ayyappa cult are late Sri M N Nambiar from Tamilnadu, Sri S Shivaram from Karnataka and various Guruswamies from Andhra Pradhesh who brought several devotees to the hill shrine which includes stalwarts like Amitabh Bachan, Late Dr. Rajkumar, Rajnikanth, Chiranjeevi etc.
The flow of devotees which was in hundreds in the late 70’s has now gone to 5 plus Crores during the mandala makara vilakku season 2010-11 which aggregates to 62 days from November 17th to January 20th. The major part of 65% devotees is from Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradhesh & Karnataka and the rest of 35% is from Kerala. In spite of increased flow in the number of devotees which is bringing an inflow of thousands of Crores of income for the State Government and hundreds of Crores for the Travancore Devasom Board ( a State Government body ) which administers the temple activities, the basic facilities and infrastructure to the devotees are bare minimum, pathetic and negligible. The devotees from outside Kerala viz. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradhesh are exploited by various agencies from local traders to State run Agencies, e.g. KSRTC [Kerala], RTO, Travancore Devasom Board etc.
Though several NGO’s are ready to offer various Seva’s at Sannidhanam and other places including maintenance of toilets at Pampa & Sannidhanam the state controlled Travancore Devasom Board is not allowing the same due to vested interests.
In the light of above, we request you to take the following issues with the Travancore Devasom Board and State Government of Kerala.
- From Nilakkal parking ground to Pampa base camp which is about 22 K.M.’s, the KSRTC [Kerala] is making it mandatory for devotees to board their buses only. The devotees vehicles are not allowed to Pampa unlike in the past where pick up was allowed for LMV private vehicles. This is causing lot of inconvenience to senior citizens and children.
- Either they should allow LMV private vehicles after darshan from Pampa or operate mini buses in plenty and make a queue system at Pampa by issuing tickets at counters itself thus avoiding conductor in the bus which results in reduce of manpower and also stampede of devotees. This system will help senior citizen and children to board the bus comfortably.
- Standing NOT to be allowed in the buses specially on the foot board to avoid accidents and discomfort to devotees, STANDING has to be avoided as KSRTC[Kerala] is charging 20% extra for the Sabarimala pilgrims during the season. Since the conductor is avoided in the new queue system we request to pass on the benefit of the same to the devotees by a down ward revision of bus fare.
- Nilakkal parking camp to be provided with sufficient lighting, toilets, bath rooms, quality and subsidized food stalls and resting shelters for drivers and cleaners of private vehicles. A work shop is also a must at the same location.
- Parking fees has to be re-worked and reduced.
- Periodical inspection / supervision checks by Health Department to be conducted at the food stalls as sub standard ingredients, rotten vegetables and grains are used for preparing the food.
- Fake mineral water sales to be monitored and stopped. Bottled drinking water rates to be regularized.
- Necessary arrangements like food stalls, drinking water facility, medical facility, lighting, information system to be arranged at Pulmedu from the starting of the season.
- En-route to Pampa from various points [ Pattanamthitta, Chengannur, Kottayam, Erumeli etc.] preparing of NON VEGERTARIAN FOOD by displaying Lord Ayyappa’s photo must be stopped. Which leads to misguiding the devotees from states outside Kerala.
- Health department to ensure that no NON VEGETARIAN FOOD is being prepared for self consumption and for the various government staff / hawkers etc. by displaying Lord Ayyappa photo claiming to be vegetarian hotel. And Health department food license to be made mandatory for all hotels en route to Sabarimala.
- Rate card and quantity of food to be displayed in all hotels prominently in south Indian languages with statutory stamp of the concerned department.
- All hotels has to be provided with a serial number and staff with identity card & uniform, compulsory medical check up for all hotel staff to identify if they are suffering from any contagious diseases like HIV, leprosy, STD etc. and also police clearance certificate (PCC) to be made mandatory.
- Provide hygienic and neat toilets, bathrooms with fixed rates at Pampa and Sannidhanam.
- Online accommodation / display of availability of rooms at different pilgrim centers at Sannidhanam with rates to be displayed for the information of devotees to avoid middlemen and fraudsters. It should be on the principle of first come first serve basis. These rooms / toilets also need to be maintained hygienically.
- Alcohol consumption checking machines to be arranged at Sannidhanam to check the staff on duty / traders / hawkers to protect the sanctity of Sannidhanam.
- Unauthorized Dolly Service to be banned by issuing identity card and Numbering of dolly.
- Dolly service to be made prepaid at Pampa / Sannidhanam to avoid misuse and fleecing of devotees.
- Annadhanam food to be checked by concerned department prior to distribution to avoid food poisoning at various center’s run by NGO’s.
- Regularize, Revise and Reduce the RTO permit rates in consultation with Transport Ministers of all Southern States.
- The harassment of Police / RTO at highways on Interstate vehicles to be controlled.
- All sort of LADY HAWKERS to be BANNED at Pampa.
- Para medical, Police force, fire force, disaster management team to be drawn from all the southern states to be stationed at Erumeli, Pampa, Pulmedu and Sannidhanam and also at Kottaym & Chenngannur.
- Request for all southern state Devasom Ministry Senior Officials / Muzrai Ministry Senior Officials to be available in turns at Pampa/Sannidhanam throughout the season enabling them to understand the difficulties faced by the pilgrims from their respective states and to offer long term suggestions for improvement of services. The presence of senior officials continuously will improve the overall administrative aspects
- Special request for stationing of either Devasom Board President or any one of the Board Member / Devasom Commissioner / Devasom Minister to be continously available at Pampa / Sannidhanam in turns thorough out the Mandala Makara Vilakku Season. This will ensure the various government department staff will work with more accountability and a repeat of Pulmedu like disaster can be avoided.
- Video conferencing facility at Sannidhanam and Pampa to be arranged to connect with various ministerial departments at Trivandurm to get continuous updates as and when required.
- Within 2 KM radius of temple at Erumeli, the sale of liquor, tobacco, meat and poultry products to be BANNED TOTALLY during season.
- The traffic to be BANNED / RESTRICTED between Pettai Sasta temple and Valiyamabalam temple at Erumeli to enable the devotees to perform the traditional Pettai thullal without hindrance / obstacles which is otherwise an accident prone area.
- All roads leading to Sabarimala to be made in motorable condition by November 10th 2011.
- Barricades / Reflectors at dangerous curves and spots to be provided en-route to Sabarimala from all locations.
- Karnataka Government to request for land at Sannidhanam / Pampa / Erumeli from Kerala Government and set up pilgrim shelters similar to Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi / Tirupathi
- The two new queue complex construction at Sannidhanam is not yet ready and moving in snails pace. If not ready before season it will be hell for the pilgrims.
- Stopping of all NGO Free Annadhanam schemes at Sannidhanam by the Travancore Devasom Board will put the pilgrims in grave misery.
- Though the bridge between Basmakulam and Chandranandan Road is being completed by Army ( MEG ) on time and is being inaugurated on 07-11-2011 but unfortunately the approach road leading to the bridge from Basmakulam which is from behind the temple is not yet ready.
- The second approach road from Pampa to Marakuttam which is called as Swami Ayyappan Rad is still in bad shape.
- Erumeli to Kanamala road is still under repair.
- The devotees coming from Chenkottai were promised with a new road between Achankoil and Chittar road which reduces the distance by 42 KM’s is not likely to completed just because the forest department has not given permission for a small stretch of 1 Km length of road this results in the pilgrims to take the round about route .
- The up-gradation of Nilackkal parking grounds with a contract amount of 19 Crores was awarded at the last minute and is not likely to be completed before the season and this shall result in much more misery than the last year.
- Nillackkal toilet complex is fully covered by bushes and weeds and cannot be used.
- Last year many devotees lost their life while being taken to Kottayam Medical College from Pamba which is very far. To overcome this, the Kerala Government had promised to start a new intensive care unit at Pathanamthitta and Kanjirapalli hospitals which only on papers even now and also the Kerala Government has informed regarding shortage of Doctors during the ensuing season.
- The various Expert Study Reports and Commission Reports pertaining to the safety of the pilgrims is not being implemented and these expert reports are kept in cold storage.
- Even basic requirements of pilgrims like water, shelter and toilets are not being provided by the Kerala Government, the Kerala Government needs to wake up from the deep sleep and at-least come forward to tackle these basic issues before the ensuing season..
Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam since its inception in 2008, have been taking up the above issues concerning Sabarimala at various levels. We only have received lukewarm responses to our efforts, the desired results could not be achieved to our expectation and satisfaction since the magnanimity of the issues to be addressed are of larger scale, however, an intervention through State Government will give more effect and impact.
We request you to kindly put these genuine concerns of Ayyappa bhaktha’s / pilgrims proceeding from Karnataka to Sabarimala before the Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala.
Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam, Karnataka State Unit assures you of our full co-operation and support and we are even ready to partnership with the Karnataka State Government & Muzrai Ministry in its endeavor in ensuring proper facilities and respect to the pilgrims of Karnataka en-route to Sabarimala.
Yours very sincerely
Hon. President President Secretary Treasurer
S Shivaram C Gopinathan B Jayaprakash S Vinod
9880504546 9341251204 9945175081 9886780510
Place : Bangalore Date : 27.10.2011