Underpass Project of Sabarimala Master Plan Not yet Started

Published on: 30 Aug, 2013
Published under: Pathanamthitta District News

29 August 2013

The High Power Committee (HPC) for implementation of the Sabarimala Master Plan is not likely to start the work on the underpass project at Marakkoottom on the Pampa-Sannidhanam path before the beginning of the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season.

Thanks to the objections reportedly raised by the Forest Department on technical grounds when the HPC formally started the work on the same on August 8.The pilgrims are yet to be benefited with the much sought-after queue complexes constructed at Sabaripeedhom and Saramkuthi on the trekking path for want of basic facilities even after its inauguration by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in November, 2011.

Sources told The Hindu that the Forest Department had objected to the digging of earth for constructing the proposed underground passage linking the Swami Ayyappan Road with the Chandranandan Road at Marakkoottom. Ironically, the project was cleared at an HPC meeting in which Principal Chief Conservator of Forests V. Gopinathan was also present. The Forest Department had sent two staff to set-out the project site at Marakkoottom on August 7.

The project involves construction of a 45-metre long, 7.6-metre wide, and four-metre high underpass linking the Swami Ayyappan Road with the Chandranandan Road with a view to easing the pilgrim pressure at Marakkoottom where four roads meet.

The work estimated to cost Rs.90 lakh was cleared by the HPC and was formally started on August 8. However, the Forest Department had stopped the work, opposing the straight-line design of the underpass, HPC sources said.

Chennai-based consultants of the projects Pithavadian and Partners Limited (PPL) had designed the underpass. G. Mahesh, architect, PPL, said the underpass should be constructed in a straight line and it required only 1,500 sq.ft. of extra forest land for completion.

The writing on the wall amply suggests that the project has more or less been stalled, giving yet another blow to the government’s development initiatives at Sabarimala.

Source– http://www.thehindu.com

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