By K. Harinderan
SELAYANG: Devotees and tourists visiting Batu Caves can look forward to using a new cable car service next year instead of climbing up the 272 steps leading to the temple.
The RM10 million cable car project is expected to be completed in time for next year’s celebrations. Temple chairman Datuk R. Nadarajah said: “The service is to cater for the elderly and disabled.” A memorandum of understanding will be signed between the temple management and developer of the cable car project, Damodar Ropeways, a Calcutta-based company on Thursday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will witness the signing of the MoU along with Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia Vijay Gokhale. The annual festival is expected to attract about 1.3 million visitors to the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves. “In keeping with the public’s feedback, arcahanai bags (prayer bags) would be sold for RM3 this year which include one coconut and prayer utensils. Kavadi bearers only need to pay RM5 and devotees are urged not to pay extra as the fees have been standardised this year.”
Nadarajah added that the number of stalls within the temple grounds have been reduced to cater for the larger crowd.
There will be about 400 stalls selling a variety of things. He urged visitors to use the rubbish bins to ensure cleanliness on the temple grounds.
The prime minister is expected to address the crowd at 10am on Thaipusam day. He will be joined by other federal and state leaders.
This would be Najib’s third visit to Batu Caves since he came into office.
There would also be over 1,000 police personnel and Selayang Municipal Council officers during the festival.
Nadarajah advised visitors to use the KTM Bhd Komuter services to reduce traffic congestion in the area.
KTMB is providing 182 shuttle trains between the old Kuala Lumpur Railway station to Batu Caves from 6.25am onwards from Wednesday to Friday.
The last train from Batu Caves will be at 11.55pm. There will be a train every 30 minutes and passengers will be given a RM1 discount.
An additional 36 trains will also be provided for return trips on the Rawang-KL, Seremban-KL and the Klang-Batu Caves lines.
For details, call KTMB customer service at 1-300 8858 62.
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