Pathanamthitta (Kerala) [India], December 26 (ANI): The income of the Sabarimala shrine during the first 39 days of the Sabarimala season this year has fallen to Rs 9.09 cr from Rs 156.60 cr in the same period last year due to restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) president N Vasu attending a press meet at Sabarimala on Friday said that so far 71,706 devotees performed darshan.
"The income of Sabarimala has dropped tremendously. Compared to the previous year, less than five per cent of the people have come to visit this year," he said.
He said that the recommendations of the High Court and the government regarding the number of devotees visiting Sabarimala are given priority.
"The preparations for the Mandala-Makaravilaku Festival have been completed," he said.
After the season started, 390 cases of COVID-19 was confirmed in Sannidhanam, Pampa and Nilakkal as on December 24. "Of these, 96 devotees were sent back after testing COVID positive. COVID-19 was confirmed for 289 employees put on duty at Sabarimala, which includes permanent employees and temporary workers from all sections of the Devaswom Board, Police, Health Department, KSEB and Excise. An antigen test camp was also conducted at Sannidhanam to detect Covid disease in the employees," he said.
He said that those who were diagnosed with the disease and those who were included in the primary contact list were removed from Sannidhanam in a timely manner.
"Despite the staff being affected, an alternative system was put in place to carry out the pilgrimage. Those tested with COVID-19 are being treated in hospitals," TDB president added.
The High Court and the government have directed that only those who have undergone the RT-PCR test should be allowed to visit Sabarimala from December 26. (ANI)