TQM India

Road Traffic Safety poster – Wear Helmet

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Traffic Safety posters – prepared for JOY – a volunteer organisation based in Bangalore to promote Traffic Safety in co-ordination with Bangalore Traffic Police.

Road Traffic Safety poster – Don’t Call While They Drive

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Traffic Safety posters – prepared for JOY – a volunteer organisation based in Bangalore to promote Traffic Safety in co-ordination with Bangalore Traffic Police.

1st day of Computer Coaching Class to children at SAI ASHRAYADHAM, Kadugodi, Whitefield, Bengaluru

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Dear Friends,

Om Sai Ram.

With the grace and blessing of all Gurus and Gods, we were able to launch the computer coaching class for children at Sai Ashrayadham, Kadugodi, Bengaluru.

Initial plans were to start with computer basic skills and more children were interested and participated in it on their on will.

 I append below an UNEDITED version of email from my wife Rajashree on the 1st day of this project:

“We left at 1:45 pm. Before leaving, I prayed a lot to BABA and our amma to guide and bless me to teach these children in the best possible way.Went along with Mrs.Pragya and mon for the class. 

The children were happy to see us. Initially all the elder boys aged above 12 years joined. But later i saw so many other younger enthusiasts eagerly peeping through the window. Then I allowed them also to join. They were simply thrilled.

They were so happy to learn. They showed so much interest  . They have very good grasping power also.

When I asked them simple questions like the full form of CPU, they just shot back with the correct answer. Then I explained to them the significance of CPU

Today being the first class, we took around the whole system.  All of them sat throughout the class keenly listening to whatever we were teaching them.Some of them have drawn some pictures in their books. I shall email you those drawings also.

It was a nice experience spending so much time with these children. WE HAVE A LOT TO LEARN FROM THEM WHEN WE CRIB ABOUT SMALL SMALL PROBLEMS.


Monu also enjoyed seeing them show so much interest in learning computer.

When we left, they asked us – ‘Aunty neenu saturday bharthiya’.  We told them we will surely come.

Mon has taken some photos of the class sessions. Shall email you””

and now the photos:

Thanks to all the three of you for this great FIRST STEP.
And you, know the children are indeed a talented and blessed bunch. See the drawings they shared with my wife, Pragya and Suraj:

To tell you, I knew they were a group of children and a power house of  talents, when I listened 24 of them singing bhajans before the Annadhanam, on 19th November 2011. The vibration I received was just the same that one gets in the bhajan hall of Puttaparthi with more than 20 or 30 thousands of devotees singing with one voice and devotion… What they need is a Tabala or dolak.. Everything will come, with our gurus blessings.
Sincere thanks to Mrs. Pragya for coming forward to extend a helping hand to this noble project and to my loving wife Rajashree and son Suraj.
Anyone interested to give us a helping hand may contact us on the details mentioned e Nidhi SREE NIDHI  . 
Contact details:
Mr. A P N Sharma – Ph 09845024039

Mr. Vaidyanathan – Ph. 09880109400

Those who are interested to participate kindly revert either by email (team1dubai@gmail.com).

Venue: Every Saturday between 2 pm and 4 pm at Sai Ashrayadham, Near Belthur Bus Stop, Kadugodi Post, Bangalore 560067.Ph 09845024039 (Shri A P N Sharma).

The joyous feeling of this first day is unexplainable.
Ramesh Menon
26 Nov 2011

This Crossing is waiting for a tragedy – wish the railway / authorities open their eyes before it is too late

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This Crossing is waiting for a tragedy – wish the railway / authorities open their eyes before it is too late

(in picture showing a lady carrying provisions trying to find her way between stopped goods train at Whitefield railway crossing, Bangalore)

I have written here earlier too about the need for a pedestrian overbridge at the Whitefield railway crossing. It is labelled clearly by the railway authorities that “Trespassing is prohibited”. But it looks like there ends there (Railway’s) responsibility. When they built the flyover and closed this railway gate permanently, they never thought options for the public to:

– reach the railway station from the bus station side conveniently – other than to go over the 1 kms approximately lengthy bridge and come down and then reach across

– to install necessary street light for public

– to consider the huge number of public who rely that route mainly to reach the bus station, railway station from both sides and the ashram and market and shopping area and residential area situated on one side of the gate.

– never ever thought about the elderly or rather even young who has to go across two or even three waiting trains, which can move any time when the pass underneath them

– or even never ever thought about the public who has to go past the railway track which is often made filthy by the excretory output from the passing train

The sad thing is that this case is made aware to the legislator, railway authorities, electricity board, bus terminal authorities and even police. It looks like someone somewhere is competing with the other as to who will make the first step to solve this issue.

The day is not too far, when we will get to hear a tragedy of someone getting run over by a starting train, which has stopped when they tried to move down under.

I really pity everyone for this plight, especially the elders and sick, when even young find it difficult to cross over.

Hope this post and the photo and the video in the attached link (as I cannot post videos here) open the eyes of general public who uses this route and the authorities to find immediate solution to resolve this issue and build a flyover to have safe journey across, and install necesary and sufficient lighting on both sides.

I tried my best efforts to alert all concerned about this danger several times, and look forward to added assistance from Praja members and general public to resolve this.

Need for " A Will"

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Need for ” A Will”

The October 2011 editiorial of KNSS (Karnataka Nair Services Society) News Bulletin came out with an important topic – ” A Will”. As a person who interact with many during emergency situation, I have noticed several times families left stranded with no guidelines as to assets and liabilities of their heads or bread earners. The topic detailed is therefore very important.
In addition, I have also noticed that many of us do not carry valid contact numbers to reach near and dear ones in case of an emergency. There is a need for such a document carried along with valid contact details, blood group and other relevant instructions such as health conditions (allergy/operations carried out etc), which will help assist emergency assistance.
Thanks to KNSS editorial team for coming out with a very useful topic.

Advance Q-Placement at Sabarimala

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By booking this, you are not assured with Darshan at Sabarimala. However this entitles you to join the queue at “Nadapanthal”.  After verifying your credentials you will be put through the queue for darshan eventually along with those who are waiting in the queue.  This is a free service offered by Kerala Police for the purpose of crowd management at Sabarimala. You are not required to make any payment in this connection.

: Kerala Police will not be responsible for any inconvenience, difficulty or loss of time caused due to reasons beyond our control.  Kerala Police do not take responsibility for providing darshan at Sabarimala or for any other deficiency in service at Sabarimala.

  • This facility is provided by Kerala Police as a part of Crowd Management which in turn saves precious time of the Pilgrims.
  • The print out generated after registration (Q-Coupon) and Identity Card used for registration must be brought while coming for Darshan.
  • The print out (Q-Coupon) and ID card are to be produced for verification by Police officials.
  • Children aged below 15 do not require identity card but photograph is essential.
  • The scanned passport size photograph must be in jpg / jpeg and size below 30 KB.
  • Females aged between 10 to 50 are not allowed to perform pilgrimage at Sabarimala.
  • Ensure that JavaScript and cookies of the browser should be enabled before booking.
  • Mozilla fire fox and chrome browsers are recommended.
  • Disable Pop-Up Blocker of the browser.

Important Instructions to be followed in Queue Placement Coupon Booking.

  • This facility is limited, to devotees who are coming to Sabarimala with Irumudikettu.
    • If the web page is idle for more than 3 minutes the link will get disconnected.
    • Before you start to register, please ensure that all the items mentioned below are available in your hand.
      • 1) Identity Card.
        2) Scanned passport size photo having size less than 30 KB in JPG or JPEG format

    • Do not use Refresh and Back button of the browser it will generate error.


ശബരിമല: ദര്‍ശനത്തിന്‌ ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ റിസര്‍വ്വേഷന്‍

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ശബരിമല: ദര്‍ശനത്തിന്‌ ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ റിസര്‍വ്വേഷന്‍
മകരവിളക്കു തീര്‍ത്ഥാടനകാലത്തു മുന്‍കൂട്ടി അറിയിച്ചു വരുന്ന ഭക്തര്‍ക്കു ദര്‍ശനത്തിനു പ്രത്യേക പരിഗണന നല്‍കാന്‍ പോലീസിന്റെ ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ റിസര്‍വേഷന്‍. ദര്‍ശനത്തിനു കൂടുതല്‍ സമയം ലഭിക്കാന്‍ ക്ഷേത്രനട മൂന്നര മണിക്കൂര്‍ കൂടുതലായി തുറന്നിരിക്കും. പുല്ലുമേടു ദുരന്തത്തിന്റെ പശ്ചാത്തലത്തില്‍ തിരക്കു നിയന്ത്രണത്തിനു മുന്‍കൂട്ടി അറിയിച്ചു വരുന്നവര്‍ക്കു അധികനേരം ക്യൂവില്‍ നില്‍ക്കാതെ ദര്‍ശനം നടത്തി പ്രസാദവും വാങ്ങി മടങ്ങത്തക്ക വിധത്തിലാണ്‌ ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ റിസര്‍വേഷന്‍. വൃശ്ചികം ഒന്നു മുതല്‍ ഇതു നടപ്പിലാക്കാനാണ്‌ ഉദ്ദേശിക്കുന്നത്‌. റയില്‍വേ റിസര്‍വേഷന്‍ മാതൃകയിലാണ്‌ ദര്‍ശനത്തിനു പോലീസ്‌ റിസര്‍വേഷന്‍ തുടങ്ങുന്നത്‌. http://www.sabarimala.keralapolice.gov.in/ സൈറ്റിലാണ്‌ റിസര്‍വേഷനു സൗകര്യം ക്രമീകരിക്കുന്നത്‌. ഇതുപയോഗിക്കുന്നവര്‍ പാസ്‌പോര്‍ട്ട്‌ സൈസ്‌ ഫോട്ടോയും തിരിച്ചറിയല്‍ രേഖകളും ദര്‍ശനത്തിനു വരുമ്പോള്‍ കരുതണം. റയില്‍വേയുടെ ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ ടിക്കറ്റു പോലെ റിസര്‍വേഷന്‍ ചാര്‍ട്ട്‌ ഡൗണ്‍ലോഡ്‌ ചെയ്‌ത്‌ രസീതായി സൂക്ഷിക്കാം. അതില്‍ ദര്‍ശനത്തിനു പറയുന്ന സമയത്തിന്‌ ഒരു മണിക്കൂര്‍ മുമ്പ്‌ മരക്കൂട്ടത്ത്‌ എത്തണം. അവിടെ നിന്നും സാധാരണ കൂവില്‍ നില്‍ക്കാതെ ഇവര്‍ക്കു വലിയ നടപ്പന്തലില്‍ എത്താന്‍ പോലീസ്‌ സൗകര്യം ഏര്‍പ്പെടുത്തും. തുടര്‍ന്നു വലിയ നടപ്പന്തലിലെ ചെക്ക്‌ പോസ്‌റ്റില്‍ നിന്നു സാധാരണ ക്യൂവില്‍ പതിനെട്ടാം പടി കയറി ദര്‍ശനം നടത്താം. റിസര്‍വേഷന്‍ ഉള്ളവര്‍ക്കു പരമാവധി ഒരു മണിക്കൂറില്‍ കൂടുതല്‍ ക്യൂ നില്‍ക്കേണ്ടി വരാത്ത വിധത്തിലാണ്‌ സംവിധാനം ഒരുക്കുന്നത്‌. റിസര്‍വ്വേഷന്‍ ഇല്ലാത്തവര്‍ക്ക്‌ തിരക്കുള്ള ദിവസങ്ങളില്‍ മണിക്കൂറുകള്‍ ക്യൂവില്‍ നില്‍ക്കേണ്ടി വരുമെന്നു മാത്രം. ദര്‍ശനത്തിനായി രാവിലേയും, ഉച്ചയ്‌ക്കും, വൈകീട്ടും നട തുറക്കുന്നതില്‍ വ്യത്യാസം വരുത്തും. ഇപ്പോള്‍ തീര്‍ത്ഥാടനകാലത്ത്‌ പുലര്‍ച്ചെ 4 മണിക്കാണ്‌ നട തുറക്കുന്നത്‌. ഇനി അത്‌ 3 മണിക്കാകും. ഉച്ചക്ക്‌ 1 മണിക്ക്‌ നട അടച്ചാല്‍ വീണ്ടും 2.30നു തുറക്കും. അത്താഴ പൂജ കഴിഞ്ഞ്‌ രാത്രി 11.55നു നട അടയ്‌ക്കും.

source: http://www.irinjalakuda.com/

An year of continuous communication with Kerala government and kerala police have given a joyous moment to my TQM efforts for the society.
Please visit my link on Sabarimala

Eighteen point safety request for implementation to avoid major Health Safety and Environment Hazard to pilgrims, nature as well as sanctity of Sabarimala temple

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Eighteen point safety request for implementation to avoid major Health Safety and Environment Hazard to pilgrims, nature as well as sanctity of Sabarimala temple

Following are thoughts and plans that came in to the mind of an ardent ayyappa devotee after the wake of the tragic loss of 102 lives at Pullumedu. I am submitting it to the authorities as it is and to all readers who may suggest improvements on these points. There may be different or better solutions than these.

Eighteen point safety request for implementation to avoid major Health Safety and Environment Hazard to pilgrims, nature as well as sanctity of Sabarimala temple.

1. Entrust completely the safety responsibility to Kerala Police Department in co-ordination with various other safety agencies including Rapid Action Force, without external influence. This will ensure there will be a single point responsibility for safety.

2. Modify the current website of Kerala Police at Sannidhanam to allow devotees to register their arrival in advance with option to input relevant details like:

a. Date of arrival

b. Mode of travel – by vehicle or walk using traditional forest route

c. If by walk – route opted

d. number of members in the party

e. coming from which place/state

f. team leaders name

g. number of children and women in the group

h. food options – self cooking or usage of hotel or seva sangams annadhanam facilities

i. vehicle type, if coming by vehicle

j. vehicle registration number

k. expected date of departure

l. route of return journey

This option of registering their arrival to the website could be done from their respective places or through special counters – an entry /check point camp operated by Kerala Police at Nilakkal, Vadasserikkara / Pulpara etc. Once logged on Special onetime stickers with color/number coding could be issued and pasted on the front glass of the vehicle for those coming by road and for those coming by walking a card issued with similar data.


The above exercise, if effectively introduced and implemented should give a good estimate of number of devotees arriving sannidhanam at any given time. Police and all relevant authorities can finalize necessary arrangements accordingly to meet the volume of devotees in various key points like sannidhanam, pampa, nilakkal and pullumedu accordingly.

For those pilgrims arriving without intimation final check point will act as a count-in centre . In addition, the queue could be controlled with bar coded hand bands giving approx time for Darshan, taking care of the route selected, stops ahead and age/health factor of the devotee.

3. Entrust the food/annadhanam activities to religious and voluntary groups like Ayyappa Seva Sangam, Hare Krishna Movement, Mata Amritanandamayi Math etc. Abolish the system of renting out restaurants and stalls on auction to external parties from Nilakkal and surrounding vicinities of Sannidhanam.
Effort should be made to provide simple and satwik food free/nominal cost by these voluntary service organizations to devotees.

Advantage: The above scheme if implanted should ensure distribution of good quality and hygienic food to all devotees and sevaks visiting sabarimala during pilgrimage season. The process will also ensure a compassionate and devotional treatment of the devotees with bhakthi and seva mind rather than commercial outlook as experienced recently in the case of devotees being beaten and poured with hot water etc.

4. Entrust the health and hygiene co-ordination completely to groups like Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Math during the pilgrimage season. Incidentally, AMMA has come out with Amala Bharatham campaign for this year, which will serve definitely for causes like this for the welfare of millions of pilgrims and their hygiene issues.

Since Mata Amritanandamayi has initiated a noble cause of Amala Bharatm this year, it will be a good idea to give the entire hygiene responsibility to Amrtandamayi Math .This will help them to set example for the country.

5. Provide adequate toilet facilities and pure drinking water availability throughout the pilgrimage season in all major destinations and pilgrim concentration areas during the season. In the local temples leading to sabarimala, the onus for this activity should be taken up by the regional temple/local people. On part of the pilgrims coming from other states, they should make a note to not pollute or contaminate or urinate indiscriminately to any open / secret place they get access to. The local people as well as the outstation devotees should make a clear and conscious effort to achieve this objective. This shall be the responsibility of the people who collects the income from Sabarimala.

6. Improve the forest roads from Pampa to Sannidhanam, especially Swami Ayyappan road as promised and planned in the government news reports released in Mid December 2010. Thus necessary renovation measures should be taken urgently to improve the road conditions, if possible expanding it, installing proper fencing arrangements for the convenience of devotees to ascend and descend safely. Necessary and adequate lighting arrangements should be done throughout the route and pilgrim concentration areas.
Proper roads and safety arrangement have to be made for which accountability (no excuses) to be fixed.

7. Introduce one way system for ascending and descending. Going upwards through the main walk way to Sannidhanam and then descending through Swami Ayyappan and link routes, after properly modifying the conditions of these roads. At no point of time, police or other safety/security staff should resort to using ropes to control the flow of devotees. As this method is extremely dangerous if it breaks or loosens crowd controlling activity should be well planned and organized from the base stage itself and movement are to be controlled to reduce the rush at peak points. This may include using of wireless communication system, cubicle systems. These may not be rooms/cubicles/closed type like other major pilgrim centres like Thirupathi but barricade or blocks to restrict easy movements of 200 or 300 pilgrims from one point to another and followed by another group.

8. Implement travel/transport timings for ayyappas and tractors and donkeys carrying heavy goods to and fro to sannidhanam. Mechanised Rope ways for transporting materials shall be also considered.
Advantage: If a specific time schedule is implemented say from 8 am to 9am in the morning then every three or four hours after it till 6:00 pm, for the purpose of movement of goods transportation only through this route, safety of pilgrims and workers operating these vehicles could be ensured along with the safety of innocent animals involved.

9. Introduce appropriate system of safety announcement and notice boards, cautioning devotees to keep order and peace throughout the pilgrimage, chanting all along ayyappa mantra. A connected sound system with repeat of ayyappa mantras along with important announcements could be initiated all along the final stretches towards sannidhanam. Every where,batch system of going up and down should be implemented
Advantage: This will instil more discipline and safety reminders amongst the devotees and act as a warning note in case they rush down fast threatening the life of other devotees, especially elderly and children.

10. Effort should be made to provide continuously good quality hot and medicated water on way to Sannidhanam.

11. No special preferences are to be allowed for celebrities, ministers, VIPs etc by way of Police protection and accompaniment from Pampa to Sannidhanam. The time/service values of those high ranked officers are precious and are to be used effectively for the conduct of smooth pilgrimage facilities to all devotees. As per Sabarimala and its religious rituals and principles all are equal as the lord himself. If an ever, someone highly ranked and feels himself above this factor, he could take the service of a specialized unit of sevak (volunteers) formed by Ayyappa Seva Sangam and should be charged heavily for taking up this service. Caution should be made to ensure that very limited people use this facility in order to bring in orderliness throughout. In addition, on peak days, ie on Makara Vilakku and Painkuni Uthram, Arattu etc days necessary announcement to restrict or reduce the arrival of ladies and children to the temple. This move will help to reduce crowd handling problems that may arise due to the presence of ladies and children.
Strict efforts should be made to see that only authorities responsible for the smooth functioning of the entire system should have special treatment for professional reasons.

12. There are several new procedures and rituals come up in the recent times, some of which are extremely dangerous. One of them witnessed during this makaravilakku festival is the ceremonious arathi conducted to the family members of panthalam/Trivandrum raja when they were accompanying the Thanka Anki and walking ahead of it. Those two sevak/volunteers were doing the arathi in a huge vessel with two levers stretched to each side and in it bhasmam and camphor lit in full glory and fume. The vessel was huge and heavy and the fire was in full fury and glow. What would have been the case, if by chance the hand of one of them slipped? The royal member and those around in the front of this fire ball engulfing themselves in ball of fires? Is it required to do arathi in such an elaborate way. If it is/was a tradition that has to be done, let it be done by using a small arathi and in a gentle way and not in such fury and hurry and heaviness creating dangerous condition to all around. Efforts should be made to stop this method and necessary caution and warning to be made all around the pilgrim destinations to use lighter and simpler methods to do arathi.

13. These days many devotees, especially from outside Kerala, returning after darshan have started following a system of throwing or letting to flow their black vasthras in the pampa river. This is addition to the level of pollution already existing within the holy river of pampa. If ever they wish to discard their vrutha vasthra’s and end their 41 days vrutham then and there in pampa, necessary authorities should come up with a facility of a fire place where they could deposit all such things. This will destroy those materials then and there leaving only ashes at the end of the festival period.

14. All possible sources of volunteering should be taken into consideration for the preliminary routes and stages of sabarimala darshan. That is till Pampa from one side and a few kilometers away from Sannidhanam if the traditional Pullumedu route or other routes are considered. After this, Police and related Rapid Action Force/Security agencies should take up the responsibility for crowd control and welfare. Transportation and Traffic arrangements should however remain within the control of Police authorities and completely computerized. The finalised list should be confirmed and authenticated by police sand they should give the go ahead for these volunteers to operate.

15. Introduce effective measures by way of notices and announcements educating the devotees not to throw offerings (notes and coins) when they reach the sanctum sanctorum. The offerings should be dropped appropriately into the hundi. It could be further streamlined by removing the hundi, currently in place in front of the sanctum sanctorum and moving it to a specific area in front of the temple, may be the vacant spot near Kodimaram. Handling of offerings to the temple and subsequent sorting are to be conducted in a well coordinated and electronically displayed manner to avoid theft or mishandling if any.

16. Sabarimala temple has already a huge reserve of fund from the offerings accumulated over a period of several years. However, the revenue is distributed to various sources and means of government bodies and other temples within the control of Travancore Devaswom Board. All efforts should be made to move out government bodies from handling the collection and offerings received and whatever received should be diverted only for the welfare of the pilgrims and associated activities of temples under the control of Travancore Devaswom board. All governmental expenses, water, electricity, police, protection, etc should be charged then and there so that surplus could be well utilized without the mishandling of the government/political bodies in place at any time.

17. Special arrangements are to be made for the safe deposit of offerings (rice, and other Pooja items) and collection of prasadams. Current counters and ways of handling the packaged prasadams are completely inadequate and unhygienic and prasadams sold do not remain even a few days. Special caution to be made in preparation and packaging of these Pooja prasadams. Here again, the production of the Pooja prasadams like appam, aravana, payassam etc could be handed over to devoted religious institutions, say again, Ayyappa Seva Sangam, or other groups like Sai organizations, Amma groups, Hare Krishna groups or any hindu religious bodies who handles or have resource to handle this task in bulk. The auctioning process of giving this task to external parties with commercial interest should be stopped once and for all. This will make sure that excessive commercialisation will not affect the quality of prasadams.

18. Finally, Sabarimala is the one of the main temple in Kerala which allows all devotees irrespective of religion allow darshan. Any assistance to better the facilities and smooth flow of pilgrims in a safe and hygienic way offered from any other religious bodies should be welcomed and accepted. In addition, the temple should remain open for one more week in all the months as per Malayalam calendar to facilitate smooth and convenient darshan by devotees.

The above are thoughts and plans that came in to the mind of an ardent ayyappa devotee after the wake of the tragic loss of 102 lives at Pullumedu. I am submitting it to the authorities as it is and to all readers who may suggest improvements on these points. There may be different or better solutions than these.

In addition a separate list of Health specific items will be submitted in due course.

End of the day, all efforts are to be made to see to it that a new pilgrim season starts with all available Health, Safety and Environment protection plans in place than on paper. Already we know that those politicians and bureaucrats have already moved out to their new areas of interest. End of the day, it is the onus of the devotees and Travancore Devaswom Board to see to it that a safe and smooth pilgrimage to Sabarimala sannidhanam could be conducted in future. Sabarimala is becoming an abode of politicians who make many promises every year during and after the pilgrim season is over and after which we do not see any action happening for the benefit of devotees. This should change once and for all.

Ramesh Menon


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Kindly post your your valuable input to these thoughts as comments below. It will assist me to compile it as a final document for submission to the authorities.

For the benefit of those who are visiting Sabarimala this season- if possible, please avoid Swami Ayyapan Road if it is raining

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For the benefit of those who are visiting Sabarimala this season- if possible, please avoid Swami Ayyapan road if it is raining

During a short visit to Kerala, utilising the UAE National Holidays, I had the privilege to visit Sabarimala Temple for a quick darshan. I used to visit the temple every year till 1995 and it was after a long gap, I was able to make a trip to this very important temple and have darshan of Swami Ayyappa. Although, I used to take the 41 days religious rituals during this season, somehow or other visiting the temple eluded from me till this year, which I used to diligent perform from a very small age till the visit in ’95. It was all sudden and as it turned out, and as those who came along with me and all others who were present there conveyed, it was a call on duty with a divine purpose.
Kindly view and listen to the Community Report in full at Mathrubhumi online, please click here

During a short visit to Kerala, utilising the UAE National Holidays, I had the privilege to visit Sabarimala Temple for a quick darshan. I used to visit the temple every year till 1995 and it was after a long gap, I was able to make a trip to this very important temple and have darshan of Swami Ayyappa. Although, I used to take the 41 days religious rituals during this season, somehow or other visiting the temple eluded from me till this year. It was all sudden and as it turned out, and as those who came along with me and all others who were there mentioned that this unplanned visit, especially the descend from sannidhanam to pampa was planned by Swami Ayyappa. The road was extremely dangerous, and since I was not in touch with anyone with regards to the conditions prevailing, and also the fact that there was a kanni ayyappa (who was visiting sabarimala for the first time), I opted to take Swami Ayyappan road, to show the way. As we moved down, it was like, one of the dangerous steps I took in my life. The person who was along with me was aged and found the slippery road too difficult. To add to our woes, there were continuous stream of heavily loaded tractors driving upwards to sannidhanam along with donkeys loaded with goods, and dolly (manual carts in which elderly or physically challenged are carried on shoulders to sannidhanam). The rush upwards was heavy on that day and then the police personnel diverted all those who were coming down to use this road making it really busy.
Everyone who used this road, used the same path and as we moved on, it became more and more difficult and the steep descend for us were equally or more steep for the fully loaded tractors. Any moment a devotee or a donkey cross in front of these tractors, these drivers were left with no option to control the vehicle and hold it without coming down. The wheels rotating and the muddy road with intermittent rain, made it skid and move towards the pilgrims, and all those behind it.
After seeing two such occasions, I couldn’t resist myself from highlighting this issue, as I found no police personnel, no ayyappa seva sangam volunteers or any other helping hands to rescue or direct those affected from this dangerous situations.

The following self explanatory pictures are added with brief narrations for the benefit of better understanding the situation I witnessed.

Rush of pilgrims on that day at Sabarimala

Swami Ayyappan Road – pilgrims descending down to Pampa rush towards any available space as they listen to the sound of horns of the arriving tractor. The space is just enough for a tractor, with loads on both side to pass, with difficulty.
You may see those workers carrying heavy load on their head also resorting to climb upstairs, either wait or continue walk till the tractor pass by.

Here comes a heavily loaded tractor

And here descends a tractor. If you notice, the driver is standing, may be literally on the breaks to control the vehicle to a stop, on the slippery conditions.
This poor driver had to apply break at the corner, eventhough he had continuously alerted those coming down with whistle and horn, someone ran in front and had to apply the break. For nearly 15 minutes, for all those watching from the side and upstairs, it was life and death situation for the driver and for all those behind, as he had absolutely no control on the vehicle as it continued to come down.

Left with few contact numbers that came to my mind, I called up Amrita TV team in UAE, who in turn informed the reporters stationed at Sabarimala and captured the scene. Calls to Mathrubhumi helped me to get the direct number of Kerala Chief Minister Sri V S Achuthanandan and his Personal Assistant , after listening to me from the location, requested me to appraise the situation to the Devaswom Minister. A call to his office and talk with his Personal Assistant, I was assured, necessary measures will be taken with immediate effect.

Upon return, I thought of highlighting it further and a timely video news coverage on Amrita TV channel and a Community Journalism Video report in Mathrubhumi online and a few emails to concerned authorities have made sure that the road conditions prevailing at Swami Ayyappan road will be improved for the benefit of devotees visiting Sabarimala this season and in future.
I thank all concerned especially Amrita TV team at Abu Dhabi and Sannidhanam and Mathrubhumi Online team for timely assistance and willingness shown to highlight this problem with importance.
As satisfying it may be for a person who value the safety of those around and also from a Non-Resident Indian working in the gulf who rarely get to see heavy rain, it started raining heavily as we drove away from Pampa. I enjoyed the rain, heavy rain, and all along was thinking of the thousands of devotees who were either climbing up or down, or stationed at Sannidhanam and Pampa.

With this community report, I kindly request those who read to circulate it amongst those who benefit from it on the dangers of using this road, when it is raining, and till the time the authorities define appropriate safety measures, for the tractor drivers, the dolly operators, the donkey operators and the poor animals and of course thousands of pilgrims visiting Sabarimala this season.

I also:

– request the authorities to kindly install necessary sign boards informing devotees not to rush and run down on the slopes as it is dangerous for them as well as those elderly or children who may be on their way.

– request the authorities to kindly place necessary police and ayyappa seva sangam volunteers on Swami Ayyappan Road to control the smooth passage of devotees and load carrying vehicles or animals till the time appropriate measures are in place for improved safety.

– request the authorities to kindly install ropes or other type of support system for devotees to hold and grip while they descend, especially on the numerous shortcuts which are extremely dangerous, and deceptive.

– although a repeat, I humbly request all young and regular devotees to patiently descend without rushing, as it is extremely dangerous for all those who use the same road for journey up and down.

More to be done and my personal efforts in this will be continued in this direction in the near future.

Ramesh Menon,
Abu Dhabi

Latest update as on 15.12.2010

The above is the print screen shot of a news reported in Manorama Newspaper online and print dated 15.12.2010.  Kerala Government have now approved a 5.5 crore budget to increase the width of the road from present 3.5m to 5 mts and build a wall on the dangerous edges enroute this road. There are plans to have additional or sufficient path for walking. It will be a concrete road. Since any expenditure above 10 lakhs needs special permission from an ombudsman and his approval is required, the proposal will be submitted to him shortly by the concerned authorities. I sincerely hope this will be approved and the road work will get done before the next Sabarimala Season.