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Make available new currency for Ayyappa devotees: Govt

Make available new currency for Ayyappa devotees: Govt

Thiruvananthapuram: The State government has asked the Centre to ensure availability of new notes at ATM counters in Sabarimala in view of the impending cash crunch expected at the hill shrine where lakhs of devotees converge during the three month long pilgrimage season, beginning Wednesday.

The state government has discussed the problems that devotees would face following demonetisation of 1000 and 500 rupee notes and expected favorable steps from the Centre in ensuring enough cash at the ATMs, State Minister for Devaswom Kadakampally Surendran said.

"A letter in this regard has been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley," he said.

"There are a number of ATMs at Pamba and Sannidhanam.But these ATMs would become empty in short time as lakhs of devotees converge there," he said.

Under the circumstances, adequate steps should be taken to make available cash at Sabarimala, he said.

On arrangements for'Mandala-Makaravillaku' pilgrimage season at the Lord Ayyappa shrine, the minister said government's effort is to make Sabarimala and its surroundings a plastic free zone by adhering to a directive of the High Court in this regard.

"Sabarimala and surroundings will be a plastic free zone. Steps have been taken to supply free drinking water from Pamba to Sanidhanam on the trekking route to discourage people from using bottled water."

"The State Water Authority has installed 132 drinking water kiosks and more would be opened in coming days, A total of 11 drinking water plants have been set up," he said.

"Sabarimala is considered as a high security zone and the whole area would be under scanner of police officials through CCTV cameras," he said.

Modern equipment has been kept ready to launch rescue operations in the event of any eventuality, he said. Health Centres that would function round the clock have also been set up.

Meanwhile, the hill shrine witnessed heavy rush of devotees from early morning when the temple was opened for 'darshan' Wednesday.

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