Kerala sat on Sabarimala development fund: Kannanthanam

Kerala sat on Sabarimala development fund: Kannanthanam
The Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala

Kottayam: Union minister Alphons Kannanthanam has blamed the Kerala government for not utilising funds allotted for development of infrastructure at Sabarimala.

Though Rs 20 crore was allocated by the central tourism department towards building infrastructure at Sabarimala two years ago, not even a rupee has been spent, Kannanthanam stated on Saturday.

“Kerala received the largest financial aid - Rs 550 crore - in the country for tourism development initiatives,” the Union minister of State for Culture and Tourism claimed. “Rs 99.99 crore was allocated for Sabarimala and Erumeli by the Centre. Malanad Tourism project got Rs 80.37 crore. It is up to the state government to implement these projects,” he stressed.

During his 10th budget presentation on January 31, Finance minister Thomas Isaac had earmarked Rs 739 crore for Sabarimala, the pilgrim centre which witnessed unprecedented protests after the Supreme Court allowed women of all age groups to enter the hill shrine last year. Isaac said that the government, which had suffered backlash over the row, did not even take a single rupee from the Sabarimala revenue.

Other central allocations

According to Kannanthanam, other central allocations include Rs 76.44 crore for the Gavi-Vagamon tourism project, Rs 46 crore for the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple-Aranmula-Sabarimala circuit project and Rs 46 crore for a Guruvayur Temple project.

The next major project to be launched is a multi-faith religious circuit which will be inaugurated by Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan on February 16 in Pathanamthitta.

The Rs 76.55 crore Vagamon-Gavi-Thekkady tourism project will be inaugurated on February 17.

Meanwhile, artists from 10 states will be performing at the ‘Festival of India in Kerala’ event aimed at attracting tourists to the state which is slowly emerging from the impact of last year's flood. The event will be held at the Thekkinkad Maidanam in Thrissur on February 23 and at the Amal Jyothi College of Engineering in Kanjirappally the very next day.

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