Sabarimala:150 crore plan for pilgrims

Kochi: Aiming to mobilise about Rs 150 crore for providing much-needed facilities for the pilgrims thronging the Lord Ayyappa shrine in lakhs every year, a trust formed to implement the Sabarimala Master Plan has decided to tap various state governments and NRIs in the Gulf countries and Malaysia.

The Sabarimala Master Plan Infrastructure Fund Trust plans to undertake visits during coming December-January in this regard, a top official of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), administering the famous hill Shrine said.

"Initially we propose to raise Rs 150 crore from different state governments and even go to Gulf countries and Malaysia where there are a lot of Keralites", Board President M Rajagopalan Nair said. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Trust which met here over the last week end. The meeting was attended by trust members including Prime Minister`s Advisor T K A Nair, former Supreme Court judge Arijit Passayat, industrialist G N Rao and Shobha Developers Chairman P N C Menon.

The proposal would be placed before a meeting convened on October 23 by Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy at Kottayam, Nair told PTI. The funds would be used to implement the first phase of the masterplan for providing various facilities at the shrine which receives an estimated three crore devotees during the annual pilgrim season during November-January.