Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala cabinet Tuesday decided to provide free of cost about 20,000 cubic metre sand which had accumulated on the banks of Pamba river during the August floods, to the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala.
The decision in this regard was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, a press release here said.
The TDB had made a request to this effect to the state government. The cabinet also decided to permit the forest department to sell the remaining sand to any private parties at the central public works department rates.
It was also decided to bring in a bill for constituting the Kerala Devaswom Tribunal, which will have a retired district judge as member, to ensure speedy settlement of disputes relating to encroachments of land belonging to devaswom boards and devaswom management.
Welcoming the government decision, TDB President A Padmakumar said the sand would be used for construction of various amenties for Ayyappa devotees, which had been destroyed during the devastating floods in August last year.
Many facilities constructed by the board for the pilgrims had been destroyed in the floods. The government decision was a relief for the board, which otherwise would have to spend crores of Rupees for the purpose, a board press release said.
A Pilgrim shelter to accomodate 5,000 people, a roofed Nadappanthal (pathway) and around 270 toilets were among the facilties which bore the brunt of the flood fury in Pamba.