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SMVDSB, CPWD sign MoU for construction of Durga Bhawan at Vaishno Devi

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Jammu: The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) have inked a memorandum of understanding for the construction of Durga Bhawan to enhance the accommodation facilities for pilgrims visiting the holy cave shrine, an official said on Thursday.

The upcoming five-storey building can accommodate 4,000 pilgrims at a time and is part of the first phase of Bhawan Master Plan, that includes setting up queue management system and exit tracks. The project was approved at the 65th meeting of the SMVDSB.

The CPWD is the construction agency for the Durga Bhawan, the official said, adding that the MoU was signed by SMVDSB CEO Ramesh Kumar and Special Director General CPWD Anant Kumar, in the presence of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, the official said.

Sinha, who is also the chairman of the board, reviewed the master plan, extended shrine area, and modalities finalised for the construction of Durga Bhawan, the official said.

Sinha was briefed through a powerpoint presentation given by Mandeep Singh of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, about the master plan, detailed architectural and structural drawings along with salient features of Durga Bhawan, planning and design for intermediate locations, architectural codes, infrastructure-related strategies and the way forward.

The Lieutenant Governor directed the CEO to ensure expeditious and timely completion of the new building so that the pilgrims could take benefit of this facility at the earliest.

He further directed that a chart be formulated and strictly followed for time bound construction of this high utility pilgrim-centric facility.

He also gave instructions for ensuring timely implementation of various components of the master plan for establishing infrastructural facilities for the visiting pilgrims in a planned manner.

The building should have adequate provision for harnessing clean energy, recycling of waste water, setting up of STPs, with provision of the best possible facilities for the pilgrims, said the Lt Governor.

Meanwhile, it was informed during the meeting that the Durga Bhawan would have adequate facilities for the visiting pilgrims such as lockers, toilets, blankets, ready to eat snacks and beverages, besides provision of elevators, he said.

“The building will be earthquake resistant”, the spokesperson said, adding that its terrace will be at the level of the existing track of the bhawan which will be covered with an aesthetically designed roof for clear valley view and as an additional resting place for convenience of the pilgrims.

The meeting also discussed proposals for construction of a suspension bridge from Durga Bhawan and yatra queue management platform for ensuring smooth movement of pilgrims even during peak yatra season.

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