Sabarimala is a renowned temple situated in the high ranges of Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. Millions of pilgrims throng the Lord Ayyappa Shrine during season from mid-Nov to late-January, every year. The roads are very narrow, winding, and pass through forest areas and several urban centres in Pathanamthitta, Kottayam & Idukki districts of Kerala.
Traffic congestion, vehicle pile-up due to road crashes and break-downs become a regular scene on the roads leading to the Base Camps of Sabarimala. This causes a greater challenge for operation of emergency vehicles, rescue & relief work, and servicing of stranded vehicles. An extent of 382km of roads leading to Sabarimala was considered for Safe Zone Project.
Estimates indicated that nearly 4.0 crore pilgrims travelling in 80 lakh vehicles visited Sabarimala during the last season (2017-18). In the previous years, an average of 230 road accidents were reported in the Control centers, causing death of 4 to 6 pilgrims and injuries to over 200 persons during each season. Between 6000-7000 vehicles get stranded due to break-downs in narrow roads.
Safe Zone Project aims at reduction of road accidents and its severity, traffic delay due to parking activity & vehicle break-downs on project roads during pilgrimage season. The specific objectives are:
Ensure safe mobility to pilgrims who visit Sabarimala during the season
24x7 patrolling of 400 km of roads and monitoring of parking, vehicle pile-ups and crashes on roads
Install required sign boards, information boards with Help Line numbers in project roads
Operate round the clock Call Centres to alert incidence of accidents, break-downs, and medical emergencies
Co-ordinate rescue operations with Government and private agencies and arrange ambulance services
Arrange repair facilities to break-down vehicles