A mega rehabilitation project for tribal children and pilgrim amenities is coming up at Koonamkara on the Perinad-Pampa main trunk road leading to Sabarimala under the auspices of the Sabari Saranashramam Trust attached to the Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajom (SASS).
The multi-crore project is part of a welfare programme for tribes wandering in the sacred grove (Poonkavanam) of Lord Ayyappa, says Kummanam Rajashekharan, SASS general secretary.
Talking to The Hindu on Tuesday, Mr. Rajashekharan said that official records show that as many as 3,650 tribal people belonging to nearly 350 families reside in the tribal hamlets of Sayippinkudi, Chalakkayam, Siffan, Attathode, Perumbanmoozhi, Vimmaram, and Gavi. The project is aimed at providing better healthcare, food, education, and social status to the children of the tribes.
The Rs.30-crore Sabari Saranashram is a well-planned centre on an 18-acre hill on the border of the Poonkavanam. The design has been prepared by Manoj S. Nair, Vasthu expert; Karinkunnam Ramachandran Nair, engineer; and Ernakulam-based architect Gopakumar.
‘‘The tribal people in the Poonkavanam are the descendants of Sabari Mata, the mythical saint who lived in the sacred grove. It is a fact that these tribal people now live in utter misery, despite various welfare schemes launched by the government. The SASS has given top priority to the Manikanta Gurukulam project,” says Mr. Rajashekharan.
He says the proposed Gurukulam will provide proper accommodation, food and, education to the tribal children.