Kerala government prepares action plan for Sabarimala

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after facing flak from the High Court for lack of preparedness that led to the death of over a 100 Sabarimala pilgrims in a stampede, the Kerala government has come up with an action plan to ensure safety of pilgrims and improve facilities at the hill-shrine.

In an affidavit, the Kerala Government told the court that it would chalk out a permanent disaster prevention plan for Sabarimala.

The recommendations by the High Court-appointed committee for development of the pilgrim centre would be implemented soon.

This includes setting up a new base camp and creating additional space at the hill shrine to prevent spilling of pilgrims to dangerous routes like Pulmedu.

"We are also thinking of putting in place a permanent organizational structure over and above the Devaswom Board to ensure that inter-departmental co-ordination is done properly," said MA Baby, Minister for Culture, Kerala.

The government also told the court that the ongoing Crime Branch probe would bring out the cause of the tragedy.

But not all seem to be impressed by the government's action plan

"I hope these words of the state government translate into action. There have been various reports about Sabarimala infrastructure development, Sabarimala Master Plan etc but sadly many of them never got implemented," said Rahul Easwar, Spokesperson of Sabrimala Chief Priest.

In 1999 a stampede in Sabarimala had claimed over 50 lives and it seems no lessons were learnt as a similar mishap happened last week in Idukki.

Many hope the government will at least take lessons from this tragedy seriously to avoid a repeat.