By S.P. Nayar
The reported decision of the apex court, confirming the earlier one of the Kerala High Court, regarding the acquisition of the land and buildings situated within 100 metres of the Guruvayoor Temple, by the Devaswam, has not come a day too soon. The Kerala High Court´s decision itself should have been implemented in letter and spirit. But the administration aided and abetted by government itself had diluted it by playing second fiddle to the grand exploiters who feed fat on the pilgrims. Lodging houses, hotels and other commercial establishments proliferate around the temple day by day; and it is they who put spokes in the wheel. The standing population is always given to exploiting the floating population.
As a spiritual destination, Guruvayoor stands next to Thirupathi and Sabarimala, in the south. But it has become so commercialised and exploitative a place that the really devoted shudder at the idea of a pilgrimage to that ?Vaikunta on Earth?. The hotels there are nothing but money-spinners. So are the lodging houses and other commercial establishments. It was because of such an unedifying and hopelessly stinking situation that the Kerala High Court had come forward with a well extrapolated and enlightened judgement to remedy the rot at least to some extent, by decreeing that all the lands within 100-metre radius of the temple should be acquired by the Devaswam. And it was this judgement that was wantonly targeted by the vested interests. The politicians who are at the helm of affairs are hand in glove with these spongers.
It is absolutely necessary that all the lands and buildings situated within the ring road of Guruvayoor should be acquired by the Devaswam, without fear or favour. Of course, the owners should be given a golden hand-shake. Every hotel and lodging house within the stipulated limit should be taken over by the Devaswam and should be run either directly or through corporate bodies like KTDC. A new outfit can be designed for the purpose, with proper control and supervision by volunteer bodies. None can expect the so-called administrative committee to deliver the goods as they are mostly mediocres who cannot see beyond the tips of their noses. Some of them had indeed merited even a Pulitzer for their excellence in ignorance, as they are being handpicked by government to fill a sinecure for services rendered. Maybe some exceptions are there as in all such setups, who may not be included in this collective stigmatisation. But the run of the mill have been non-entities with little to write home about, either in their qualifications or accomplishments. The immed-iate implementation of the court order is the first step in the right direction. The citizens forum of the locality should play a worthy ?vigilance? in ensuring the proper implementation of the court order.