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Ayyappas not to face language barrier

To help pilgrims make a smooth visit to the hill shrine of Ayyappa Swami temple in Sabarimala after observing a 41-day ‘deeksha’, the State government in coordination with the Ayyappa Seva Samajam (ASS) is coming up with a string of devotee-friendly measures.

A few days ago, Endowments Minister P. Manikyala Rao convened a meeting with the members of the ASS and discussed the steps to be taken for the convenience of devotees. With the assistance of officials in Kerala, the government has decided to set up four information centres at Sannidhanam near the hill shrine, Pampa, Erumely and Chengannur.

Communication between devotees from Andhra Pradesh and officials in Kerala is becoming a difficult task due to language problem and to address the issue, the ASS has brought it to the notice of the government which agreed to set up information centres in Kerala. Staff from the Andhra Pradesh Endowments Department will furnish information about routes connecting Sabarimala.

“If anyone goes missing from a troupe, other members can approach the information centre for help,” said ASS State coordinator K. Suresh Kumar. He said the centres would press into service vehicle repairers if devotees’ vehicles get stranded after developing snags while going to Sabarimala.

Close to 10 lakh people from the State will be visiting Sabarimala through different modes of transport especially trains, buses and other private vehicles.

Banners will be put up at Ernakulam, Kottayam and Chengannur railway stations with round-the-clock toll-free number of information centres.

Pamphlets containing information about the four centres will also be distributed at Ayyappa Swami temples in the State.

Route maps would be provided to devotees and in case of accidents, organisation volunteers will rush to the spot to take up rescue operations, according to Mr. Kumar. The ASS is setting up similar information centres at 52 places in A.P. and Kerala.