<b>XIII LOK SABHA DEBATES, <i> Session II (Winter Session) </i> </b>
XIII LOK SABHA DEBATES, Session II (Winter Session) Friday, December 10, 1999/Agrahayana 19, 1921 (Saka )

Title: Request to provide more trains running via Chenganur and other facilities for the pilgrims visiting Sabarimala Ayyappa Templein Andhra Pradesh.

SHRI RAMESH CHENNITHALA : Sir, the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple is the symbol of national unity, secularism as well as fraternity. Lakhs and lakhs of devotees and pilgrims are visiting this temple. Hon. Speaker, Sir, you are also coming for the pilgrimage. Moreover, lakhs and lakhs of people from your State, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country are visiting this temple.

Unfortunately, in January this year, because of the heavy rush in the Sabarimala Hills, a tragedy occurred and there were some human casualties. Since then the Travoncore Devaswom Board is urging the Central Government to give more forest lands to the State Government so that they can make proper arrangements for the pilgrims who are coming from different parts of the country.

Just like the Vaishno Devi Shrine, now Sabarimala is very famous all over the country. At Vaishno Devi Shrine, there are proper arrangements made by the State Government as well as Central Government. There is no arrangement made by the Central Government or the State Government for the lakhs and lakhs of people who are coming for makarivilakku and mandalpuja at Sabarimala. The Travancore Devaswom Board and the State Government of Kerala requested the Forest Department of the Centre to give more land so that they can provide more facilities to the pilgrims who are coming from different parts of the country.

More trains should also be started from Andhra Pradesh. There is only one train coming from Vijayawada to Chenganur. From Karnataka also, there is only one train. Since these trains are over-crowded, more special trains are needed for the pilgrims. So, I request the Railways to provide more trains in this season. Also, Chenganur is the halting point for all the pilgrims, for the people who are coming from other parts of the country. So, I request the hon. Minister of Railways to make certain provisions for extending facilities for the pilgrims at Chenganur also.

SHRI MOHAN RAWALE (MUMBAI SOUTH CENTRAL): Sir, I am also supporting it.

MR. SPEAKER: Shri Rawale is also associating.

SHRI RAMESH CHENNITHALA : I request the hon. Speaker to call both the Ministers and have a small discussion on this because last time, there took place a human tragedy and a lot of people from Karanataka and Andhra Pradesh died. So, I request the hon. Speaker to call the Minister of Environment and Forest as well as the Minister of Railways and have a small meeting with them for extending facilities for the pilgrimage. Thank you.

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SHRI P.C. THOMAS : I would also like to associate myself.

MR. SPEAKER: Shri Rawale and Shri Thomas are associating with it.

SHRI P.C. THOMAS : Sir, I would also like to supplement. ....(Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: No. You can associate with him. There are other Members also.

SHRI P.C. THOMAS : Sir, this is a pilgrimage which is growing just like Tirupati and crores of people are coming here. There is absolutely no place for the lot of pilgrims who are coming here. So, some kind of protection should be provided to them.

MR. SPEAKER: It is already said.

Shri K. Muraleedharan.