KOTTAYAM: Sabarimala pilgrims who reach the KSRTC bus station here would have a tough time this season with lack of proper facilities. Stinking premises, toilets which often run out of water and dilapidated waiting rooms are a cause of concern. Though the special services to Pamba are centered at the railway station, as the season progresses there will be a huge rush at the bus stand also.
Usually, the bus station and its premises are cleaned ahead of the pilgrim season. However, no attempts were made to improve the condition of the station this year as there was a proposal for demolishing the present one and constructing a bus terminal cum shopping complex here. But, the project has not progressed. “The site plan for the building was submitted. But there were no developments,” said ATO Kunjumohammed.
Regarding the comfort station, he said water supply here usually gets disrupted due to maintenance work of the water authority. “This week we did not receive water for 3-4 days,” he said.
This season 30 new buses have been allotted for the depot for Sabari special services. “We have two information counters, one each at the railway station and KSRTC bus stand which function round-the-clock. This year the depot has introduced two special packages for the pilgrims. “If a group of pilgrims want the service of the bus exclusively for them, they can avail it for Rs5,885 for one-side travel,” he said. This is for a maximum of 52 numbers. The same facility is available in Pamba also.
Another facility is that, buses will pick pilgrims within a radius of 10kms from the bus station if a minimum of 40 passengers are there.
Meanwhile, there are also complaints from pilgrims that they have to wait for hours at the bus station to board a special bus. “Friday morning I had to wait for nearly an hour as the required numbers of passengers were not there. Finally the authorities agreed to start the service after the number reached 30” said K R Gireesh Kumar, a resident of Kottayam town.
The ticket fares for bus services from Kottayam to Pamba are Rs80 for ordinary and Rs84 for super-fast. For Kottayam to Erumely, it is Rs39 for ordinary and Rs42 for super-fast. The special package offered for pilgrim groups from Kottayam to Pampa is-Rs5,885 for one-side travel.
Pilgrims can contact Sabarimala special service office at 9497724105.