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LG chairs meeting of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board

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Launches various initiatives to provide diverse facilities to pilgrims, devotees

JAMMU: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha chaired the meeting of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) at the Raj Bhavan today.

The meeting was attended by all members of SMVDSB – Mahamandleshwar Swami Vishveshvaranand Giriji Maharaj; Baleshwar Rai; Dr Ashok Bhan; Kul Bhushan Ahuja; Dr Neelam Sareen; K K Sharma; Suresh Kumar Sharma (Retd. Judge) and Raghu K. Mehta.

Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, and Anshul Garg, Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board were present.

The Lt Governor, who is the chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, launched various initiatives to provide diverse facilities to the pilgrims and devotees. He also ascertained the progress of the work for ease of devotees and laid emphasis on the timely completion of all projects.

On the occasion, the Lt Governor launched a Cottage Policy, Aarti Darshan Policy, 1st edition of ‘Panchang Calendar-2023’ of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. He laid the foundation stone of accommodation facilities for Shrine Board’s employees at Adhkuwari & Banganga and launched multiple donation facilities for the pilgrims.

Further, the Board discussed, ratified, and gave in-principle approvals for a total of 46 agenda items.

The Board members were also presented with a compliance report on the directions passed for short-term and long-term measures initiated for yatra regulation and crowd management.

The CEO SMVDSB apprised the actions initiated on diverse fronts for hassle-free pilgrimage including issuance and verification of RFID cards, effective crowd management, augmentation of holding areas, plans for decongestion of the entire track, separation of entry, exit routes at Bhawan, and surveillance through dedicated CCTV network of over 500 cameras.

There should be no intertwined movement of the devotees. All the facilities like lockers, bathing areas, etc. should be in the same place in the new bhavans. All aspects should be taken into account for the construction of the Passenger Ropeway between Tarakote Langar and Sanjichhat, said the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor directed the CEO to take all necessary measures for the safety and security of the pilgrims.

“Safety, convenience, and ease of the devotees visiting the shrine remain the top priority of the Shrine Board. Keep 24×7 monitoring on a pilgrimage through RFID and CCTV cameras,” said the Lt Governor.

To reform and enhance the functions of various departments at the shrine, the Board approved the implementation of Enterprises Resource Planning (ERP) software through TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) to provide an integrated digital solution.

The Board approved the establishment of a New Registration Counter at Railway Station, Katra to decongest the existing registration counters and provide convenience and comfort to the pilgrims. The Lt Governor also issued directions for building a state-of-the-art Registration center.

The Board appreciated and decided to continue initiatives undertaken on a pilot basis during the Shardiya Navratras for the benefit of Divyangjan. The facilities will include the provision of complimentary pony and battery car services, and special priority darshans at sanctum sanctorum during all upcoming Navrataras.

The meeting also decided to invite doctors willing to serve the devotees at the Shrine on a volunteer basis through advertisement and wide publicity.

While taking the appraisal of ongoing Projects at Bhawan under Master Plan – Durga Bhawan & Skywalk, the Lt Governor directed to expedite the work.

The Lt Governor emphasised that every effort must be made to complete all the ongoing projects in an expedient manner. The Board impressed for making maximum use of green technologies, rainwater harvesting, and solar power harnessing.

A discussion was also held on slope stabilization and other upcoming projects including the redevelopment of Parvati Bhavan and the separate exit track from the Bhawan and the remodeling of Manokamna area.

The Board also ratified several initiatives for the welfare of the Board’s employees and the creation of new posts for the operationalization of Durga Bhawan. Approval was also accorded to enhancement in financial assistance for the marriage of girls and grant of scholarships for meritorious students of ex-Baridar families.

The Board took appraisal of SMVD Charitable Society and approved grants in aid and financial assistance by the Board to educational institutions.

During the meeting, the Board took note of numerous steps aimed at the rejuvenation of the Banganga and asked the CEO to prioritize such initiatives.

The Board also desired to complete the construction of Shankaracharya Temple near Katra in an expedient manner by resolving all pending issues with the help of concerned stakeholders.

Later in the meeting, the Board members were also given a PowerPoint presentation on the development of the Shrine of Shiv Khori at Reasi. Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar apprised the chair of the proposed works and plan for developing the shrine.

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