The hill shrine of Sabarimala is facing a severe drinking water scarcity. With just around 10 days left for the shrine to open for the monthly visit of pilgrims, authorities are struggling to repair the pipes and clean the Kunnar dam, the only natural source of potable water to the shrine.
The recent flood with the opening of the Kakki and Kochupamba dams had resulted in the Pamba river being in spate. Pilgrims were kept away from visiting the shrine during the 'niraputhari’ early in August and when the shrine was opened during the start of the Malayalam month of Chingam in mid-August.
According to Devaswom officials, mudslides led to flow of silt into the Kunnar dam. The pipe bringing water to the shrine and surrounding areas has been damaged at several points. As it is in the dense forest, accessibility is difficult. Workers have to trek for hours together and return much before dusk, making repair works move at a very slow pace.
The floods caused severe damage to wells and motor pumps in the vicinity. With power connection yet to be restored in several areas, pumping of water was near impossible. Devaswom authorities admitted that the situation was grave and efforts were on to repair the pipe from Kunnar dam so that water supply could be restored in a week. They said that with the annual Sabarimala pilgrimage season just two months away, operations were on in full swing. UNI