Sacrifice to religion

Environmentalists in Kerala are up in arms against the proposed clearing of 250 acres of thick tropical forests in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the largest national park in the state. The state government has embarked on the project -- named the Rudravanom project -- supposedly to provide basic amenities to pilgrims visiting the famous Sabarimala shrine nearby. These amenities include a 7 km alternative road to the temple and pilgrim shelters.

Members of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, nature lovers and environmental scientists plead that clearing the forests could destroy the ecology and also prove disastrous for the only tiger sanctuary in the state.

The Union government has decided to send a 2-person team to assess the Rudravanom project. The state chief of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Satishchandran Nair, has suggested that the commercial plantations and grasslands around the temple be used to construct the shelters instead of clearing forest land.

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