Forest dept standing in way of Sabarimala development, says devaswom

Forest dept standing in way of Sabarimala development, says devaswom

Travancore Devaswom Board, bogged down by a series of restrictions on development activities at Sabarimala, has found fault with the forest department for this situation.

Board chairman A Padmakumar told mediapersons on Saturday the forest department was obstructing construction activities and was part of a design to “destroy Sabarimala”.

In quick reaction, Forest Minister K Raju denied the charges and said Sabarimala was a forest area and his Ministry proposed to ensure it retained its pristine glory.

Referring to the Supreme Court empowered committee report about the misuse of forest land, Padmakumar said the devaswom was keen on providing amenities and all construction would be on the basis of the Sabarimala masterplan. No unauthorised structures would be constructed.

He accused the forest ministry of interfering in all matters,including providing basic amenities, affecting the board's activities.

In the backdrop of the Supreme Court verdict, he said the board did not propose to join as party in the case. A report of the Special Commissioner would be submitted in the Sabarimala women entry issue.

The board's main responsibility was to conduct the rituals and customs properly and ensure that pilgrims were provided better amenities, Padmakumar said.