An audit report blames Travancore Devaswom Board and the state electricity board for not setting up compositing and drainage facilities or laying electric lines underground
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), an autonomous body that manages 1,248 temples including the Sabarimala Ayappa Temple, has been violating the Master Plan for Sabarimala for over a decade. This is affecting the ecology of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, says a recently tabled report by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
The CAG’s performance report on the implementation of Wildlife Protection Act in Kerala says that impact of Sabarimala pilgrimage ranked first in the list of 18 major threats identified by Periyar Tiger Reserve authorities in Tiger Conservation Plan (TCP). The auditors have also underlined that “growing demand of TDB for additional land for infrastructure development at Sabarimala led to habitat degradation”.
CAG auditors pointed out the following deviations and violations:
In its reply filed in March 2018, the Kerala government accepted the audit observations and stated that utmost importance of establishing composting facility at Pampa would be brought up to the attention of the high powered committee. The government also spoke about asking TDB to take urgent measures to improve drainage system connected to STPs at Pampa and Sannidanam. The matter regarding non-insulated overhead cables existing in the traditional trek route was brought to the notice of the KSEB, said the state government.
While filing its reply, the state government should have made high-powered committee in charge of monitoring the Tiger Conservation Plan, and made TDB and KSEB own up the inaction and tell the CAG about what they plan to do to rectify these violations, says the auditing agency.
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