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Army team ready to build Bailey bridge at Sabarimala

Radhakrishnan Kuttoor

Part of a road for exit of pilgrims after darshan



New mission:An expert team from the Bangalore-based Madras Engineer Group of the Army, accompanied by officials of the Travancore Devaswom Board, at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam on Sunday.

PATHANAMTHITTA: A seven-member expert team from the Bangalore-based Madras Engineer Group (MEG) of the Army on Sunday found suitable a site identified for building a Bailey bridge across a stream near Bhasmakkulam at Sabarimala.

The team, headed by Col. Muraleedharan, was in the holy hills to conduct a feasibility study on constructing the bridge planned as part of a proposal for laying a road linking the Sannidhanam and Chandranandan Road as envisaged in the Sabarimala Master Plan.

K. Ravikumar, Chief Engineer, Travancore Devaswom Board, and Jolly Ullas, Executive Engineer, told The Hindu that the MEG team, headed by Col. Muraleedharan, found the site suitable. The road and the bridge would be ready before the coming Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season. The 90-metre bridge could be built within a week using iron girders. The military engineers prepared a site plan and a project report on reaching Pampa in the afternoon for sending these to their headquarters.

Mr. Ullas said the new road would be used for the exit of pilgrims from the Sannidhanam after darshan at the Ayyappa temple, establishing a one-way system to avoid rush and ease pressure in the holy hills.

Work to start soon

Mr. Ravikumar said the work on the 120-metre-long road would begin soon and would be completed in a time-bound fashion. The iron girders for the bridge would be transported through the same road. Lt.Col. K.J.S. Gill, K. Babu, K.C. Naidu, A.C. Cruz, P.V. Manoj, and K.M.Shijo were the other members of the MEG team.

The decision to construct the road and the bridge was taken at a meeting convened by Devaswom Minister V.S. Sivakumar two weeks ago. The matter was brought to the notice of Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who took the initiative to speed up the process.

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