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Last Updated Friday November 16 2018 04:10 PM IST

Coming soon: A helipad near Lord Ayyappa's abode

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Sabarimala shrine will soon feature a helipad Sabarimala temple

Sabarimala: The Travancore Devaswom Board has started work on a helipad at Nilakkal near Sabarimala as part of its disaster management plan for the busy pilgrimage season starting in mid-December. The helipad is coming up at a devaswom board-owned rubber estate where one of the naval choppers had landed five years ago.

The helipad, constructed as per the specifications set by the Indian Air Force, is expected to be complete in a month. The plot is being leveled at a length of 60 meters and width of 30 meters.

Though Rs 60 lakh was allotted last year to build a helipad and a base for the police, fire force and disaster management force at Nilakkal, the authorities had sat on it for long. The work on the helipad was started only after police officers wrote to the devaswom board to urgently take measures to prepare for any disaster during the pilgrimage season hardly two months away.

The work on the buildings to house the personnels of the police, fire force and disaster management force will be taken up only next year, after the pilgrimage season is over.

Meanwhile, the Marketfed has been contracted to supply the ingredients to make the ‘aravana’ offering at the hill shrine. The state government agency is required to supply dried ginger powder at Rs 192 per kilo and raisins at Rs 303 per kilo and rock sugar at Rs 60 per kilo.

As much as 35,000 kilo dried ginger powder, 80,000 kilo rock sugar and 75,000 kilo raisins are required at the shrine to prepare the offering.

The Marketfed also won a contract to supply cardamoms at Rs 1,017.5 per kilo but the agency backtracked from the contract, citing a loss incurred due to the raids by the food safety inspectors.

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