Amidst heavy rainfall and continuing tensions, Sabarimala temple, situated in the Periyar tiger reserve in the Pathanamthitta District of Kerala, is all set to be opened on Friday evening for the two-month Makaravilakku puja. Yet, the pilgrims arriving at the temple have been raising complaints of lack of facilities at the base camp. Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president A Padmakumar, however, clarified that they have worked for the welfare of the devotees and sought media’s help in preventing the spread of false news.
Speaking to the media at the Pamba Guest house on Friday, just a few hours before the gates of the temple open, he said, “With the number of devotees expected to increase in the coming days, the TDB is planning to set up more temporary tents for the devotees to rest in Nilakkal, the base camp.”
The TDB president also admitted that there are problems regarding toilet and food facilities at Pamba. Regarding this, he said that the TDB had begun their work as early as June when the devastating floods hit the area disrupting the flow of work, causing even more destruction to the existing facilities as well. “We are doing all that we can to make use of our resources to ensure proper facilities are provided to the devotees coming to the temple," he added.
Padmakumar added, “Despite all the issues that we are battling at the moment, we believe that we can get by this Makaravilakku season in a peaceful manner.”
Seeking media’s help in this regard, Padmakumar requested the media persons to refrain from spreading any speculations while reporting from Sabarimala.
The last one month saw a large number of media personnel in the areas of Nilakkal, Pamba and Sabarimala to report on the issue regarding the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Temple - following the historic yet controversial verdict of the Supreme Court on September 28
Padmakumar was addressing the press just before attending a meeting of the Travancore Devaswom Board, where they will decide if it should approach the Supreme Court to seek time to implement the order allowing entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala temple.
"TDB and the state Government put in a lot of effort to ensure the Makaravilakku season goes smoothly. Due to sensitive nature of the issue surrounding the women entry, any mild speculation while reporting can blow up into a big problem here," said Padmakumar, who went on to add that the media should keep a watch among themselves as to who is spreading false news while reporting.
"Even today, a prominent news channel is reporting that there is a flood situation here in Pamba because of the rains and that the devotees are not able to reach the temple,” said the TDB president.