Sabarimala | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Sabarimala: Amid the Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season, the shortage of temporary staff has been affecting the ‘Prasadam’ preparation and distribution at Sabarimala temple. It is learnt that packing of prasadam has come to a halt due to the non-availability of staff. Because of this, the TDB is struggling to distribute prasadam to the devotees.
Earlier, 10 tins of Aravana were packed in a single carton. It helped the devotees who preferred to make a bulk purchase. Usually, devotees from other states used this facility. But TDB has completely stopped carton packaging due to shortage of staff.
Hence, long queues are seen in front of Aravana distribution counters at the temple. The TDB is also discouraging bulk orders due to the difficulties in distribution.
Earlier, the Devaswom board had appointed over 1000 employees on a daily wage basis. These employees were engaged in distributing Appam, Aravana and ‘Chukku Vellam’ (ginger water).
This time, over 300 employees were appointed on a contract basis as the authority assumed a decline in the number of devotees. But a majority of these employees quit the job within a week. A few of them contracted viral fever. Following this, the distribution of prasadam and ‘chukku vellam’ was hit due to staff shortage.
Though the TDB is demanding to open Neelimala road to the hill shrine, no staff are left for distributing ‘Chukku Vellam’ on this route.
Shortage of employees has turned into a major issue in Sabarimala. TDB revealed that items and money received as offering at the temple are not segregated and counted. Meanwhile, the number of devotees are increasing day by day.
Travancore Devaswom Board member Adv Manoj Charalel informed that immediate action will be taken to address the staff shortage.
“150 employees will be appointed soon. Once, the recruitment is done, all issues will be solved,” he added.