Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday held a meeting over the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that threw open the Sabarimala temple to all women, and discussed steps to welcome women this upcoming season. “The meeting has decided to increase facilities at various camps en route to the temple. At the Nilackal base camp, we have today decided to increase pilgrim facilities from 6,000 to 10,000. There will also be a special enclosure for women,” State Minister for Devasoms (a watchdog body of temples which oversees the functioning of all the Devasom Boards in Kerala), K.Surendran told the media here after the meeting. He said the toilets for women will be in a different colour.
“Facilities at the bathing enclosure in river Pampa will also be increased.” The Minister said that while online booking for ‘darshan’ is already available on the temple website, authorities are also trying out ways for booking via mobile apps. “We have decided to increase the lighting facilities all around the temple town. Under the new scheme of things, all vehicles will be parked at Nilackal and from there pilgrims will have to take the bus service. Twenty-five per cent of all buses would be kept aside for women,” said Surendran.
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy asked Vijayan not to show any haste with regard to the judgement which has allowed women of all ages to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. “There is no doubt that the apex court ruling should be adhered to, but it has also come as a shock to others... The state government should explore all options and not implement the verdict in a hurry,” said Chandy. Sasikumar Varma, a spokesman for the Pandalam Royal Family, which has an integral role in the affairs of the Sabarimala temple, said the palace was disappointed with the verdict and on Tuesday they will stage a protest by reciting hymns at the Pandalam temple. (IANS)