Sabarimala tragedy: Govt files affidavit in HC

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Kochi, Jan 21 (PTI) Rapped by the high court forinadequate measures that led to the death of 102 Sabarimalapilgrims, Kerala government today filed an affidavit statingthat it would draw up an action plan for disaster preventionand develop the Nilakkal base camp to help regulate the entryof devouts to the shrine.

The high power committee for implementation ofSabarimala Master Plan had identified few projects for bettercrowd management which would be completed by next season, theaffidavit, filed by K Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary,who is also the Home, Vigilance and Devaswom Secretary, said.

Development of Nilakkal as base camp and providingbetter facilities for pilgrims would help contain the pilgrimsthere and regulate their entry to the hill shrine atSabarimala, thronged by millions every year during thetwo-month pilgrimage season from mid-November.

Creating additional space at ''Sannidhanam'' (sanctumsanctorum) by constructing a two storeyed walkway, building anexit overbridge behind the temple, shifting the ''Prasadam''complex, improving facilities and safety at the points atwhich pilgrims congregate to watch ''Makarajyothi'', believed tobe a celestial light, were among the projects.

The government would hold consultative meeting withNational Disaster Management Agency, State Disaster ManagementAgency and other experts and devise safety measures on thetruck and other routes, the affidavit said.

The government told the court that the exact sequenceand events leading to the tragedy at Pullumedu will be clearonly after the crime branch investigation was complete.

Government also said 279 police personnel and forestofficials had been deployed in the Pullumedu area.

After the tragedy, the state government had pressedinto service all facilities for rescue operations and toensure that pilgrims are able to leave the place withoutdifficulty.

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