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CM wants 'plastic-free' pilgrimage season at Sabarimala

CM wants plastic-free pilgrimage season at Sabarimala

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday urged the devotees coming to the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple to desist from bringing plastic material to keep the fragile ecosystem of the hill shrine clean during the upcoming three-month pilgrimage season starting November 15.

He was addressing the Southern State Ministers' Conference on Sabarimala Pilgrimage here. The conference was called to review the preparations for the festival season.

"The fragile ecosystem of Sabarimala is a matter of concern. It is the duty of all the pilgrims to keep the hill shrine premises intact. It is the responsibility of all the devotees not to bring plastic while coming to the shrine," Vijayan said.

The practice of bringing bottled water to the premises of the shrine should also be discontinued, he said.

"I urge all the states to carry out a media campaign against the use of plastic during the Sabarimala pilgrimage," he added.

The chief minister said Kerala welcomed all the devotees from within and outside the state and sought the support and coordination of the neighbouring states to ensure a safe pilgrimage season.

He said elaborate arrangements have been put in place as regards health, transport, crowd management, safety and security and food and drinking water for the devotees.

Besides Kerala, the other southern states should also take necessary steps to create awareness among the devotees about the need to keep the hill shrine clean and green throughout the season, said Vijayan.

Telangana Endowment and Housing Minister Indra Karan Reddy and officials from the other south Indian states attended the conference, besides Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran and Travancore Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan.

"Elaborate arrangements are in place to ensure a safe darshan, smooth transport and clean environment for Sabarimala devotees," the chief minister said.

An adequate number of police personnel have been deployed at Sabarimala and at the temple premises for crowd management. Medical facility, including the services of cardiac experts, would be available at the hill shrine.

Vijayan urged the states to set up information centres to share the details of pilgrims in case of an emergency, adding that these centres could be connected with the central information centres set up here and at Sabarimala.

The three-month-long 'mandala pooja' and 'makaravilakku' pilgrimage season at the temple begins on November 15.

As per customs, the shrine opens only for five days every month of the Malayalam calendar, besides the November to January 'mandala pooja' and 'makaravilakku' pilgrimage season.

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