Pathanamthitta: Environment committee chairman EK Vijayan MLA said that Sabarimala should be made a model pilgrimage center with a good master plan to protect the environment. He was speaking at a review meeting held in Pampa regarding the visit of the Assembly Environment Committee to Sabarimala.

Sabarimala is visited by lakhs of pilgrims and there are environmental problems like air pollution and water pollution. A kind of master plan should be prepared to solve all these and move forward. Incidents of littering in public places are reported daily. Punitive action will be taken against such people. To solve the problem of plastic bottles, Sabarimala needs to have extensive facilities for clean water supply. At present, incinerators, biogas plants and sewage plants are all operational for waste treatment. The level of air pollution in and around Sabarimala is currently low.

Under the leadership of the Forest and Wildlife Department, awareness is being given to the pilgrims to reduce the use of plastic. Moreover, to ensure the safety of the devotees on Kananapatha, awareness will be given about such matters through the mobile app prepared by the forest department. Steps have been taken to reduce the use of plastic in shops along the pilgrimage route. The activities of Haritakarma Sena, Eco Guards etc. are active.

In view of the arrival of lakhs of pilgrims, the master plan also needs to include measures to purify the water of Pampanadi. A plan for parking should be prepared and implemented keeping in mind the increase in the number of pilgrims.

Forty one recommendations were included in the fifteenth report of the Fourteenth Kerala Legislative Assembly. The Committee assessed the progress of the measures mentioned therein. The replies received from various departments will be brought to the attention of the government. The number of pilgrims will increase in the coming years. Accordingly, there is a huge responsibility to develop this region. Actions should be taken to achieve that goal. Under the leadership of District Collector Dr. Divya S. Iyer, there has been good progress in the activities carried out with the cooperation of the officials. The District Collector has been entrusted with the work to be continued. The Chairman of the Assembly Environment Committee said that further steps should be taken to find a permanent solution to the environmental problems at Sabarimala by adding the recommendations of the Environment Committee to the report submitted by the Collector to the government.

The committee assessed the functioning of the existing waste management systems at Nilakkal, Pampa and Sannidhanam. The progress in implementing the proposal to increase the use of electric vehicles on the Nilakkal-Pamba route was assessed. District Collector Dr. Dr. Divya S Iyer said.

Legislative Environment Committee members TI Madhusudhanan MLA, Linto Joseph MLA, District Collector Dr. Divya S Iyer, District Superintendent of Police Swapnil Madhukar Mahajan, Nilakkal Police Special Officer M. Hemalatha, Thiruvalla Sub-Collector Shweta Nagarkoti, Sabarimala ADM TG Gopakumar, Nilakkal Duty Magistrate Sreekumar, Assembly Section Officer B. Sreekumar, Assistant Section Officer P. Anumon, Selection Grade Reporter A. Sheeba, Attendant N. Rajan and others participated.

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