Sabarimala (Kerala), Aug 24 (IANS) The Indian Army is set to build two bailey bridges near the Sabarimala temple to facilitate the pilgrims’ return to the temple town, the authorities said on Friday.
The the overflowing Pamba river and the closure of two major bridges forced the authorities to close the Sabarimala temple since August 13.
Speaking to IANS, State Tourism and Devasom Minister K. Surendran said since the Pamba river was flooded, huge damage was caused to the temple town and its infrastructure.
“Two bridges have been shut and we are still unable to assess the extent of the damage caused by the floods. We have decided to entrust the Indian Army to build two bailey bridges,” said Surendran.
The engineering division of the Army from Hyderabad has been entrusted with the job, he said, adding the final clearance is expected from the Defence Secretary soon.
He said Army authorities will decide the alignment of the bridges. One bridge would be meant for the vehicular traffic, and the other for pedestrians.
“Our prime focus is to get the damaged roads repaired. We are hoping the pilgrims will be able to return to the temple when it opens in the middle of the next month,” said Surendran.
According to the temple authorities, the floods have caused damage worth Rs 100 crore to its infrastructure.
The sluice gates of two dams that form a part of the Sabarigiri project was opened after heavy rains and subsequent floods ravaged places in and around the temple town.
However, all the religious rituals of the temple are going on.
The temple is open only from the middle of November till the middle of January, but for several years now, it is kept open for a few days at the start of every Malayalam month which falls during the middle of every month.