Kerala against restrictions on Sabarimala

Kerala against restrictions on Sabarimala

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Friday said there should not be any restrictions on pilgrimage to Sabarimala, which falls within Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Kerala was of the view that the pilgrimage would in no way harm the tiger habitat, Chandy said in a statement after meeting officials of the State Forest Department and Devaswom Board. He said the temple was centuries old and pilgrimage had started long before this area was declared a tiger reserve. “Sabarimala is in the buffer zone and not in the core area of the tiger reserve.

The pilgrimage would in no way interfere with the habitat of tigers”, he said. The meeting was held after the supreme court directed the states to convey their response on the guidelines for conservation of tiger reserves in the country.

Kerala’s stand regarding the directions would be conveyed on October 1, he said. The Advocate General has been entrusted to submit declaration in this regard after consultations. Supreme Court was aware of the Sabarimala master plan, which has been prepared as per its directions, he said. It also has the approval of the Union Environment Ministry, Empowered Committee and National Wildlife Board.

The Centre earlier had allotted 12.67 hectares of forest land from the tiger reserve for stepping up pilgrimage facilities after due sanction from the apex court. Chandy said the state would be in a position to convince the apex court the reasons for not regulating the pilgrims to Sabarimala.