President on 2-day J&K visit from Wednesday
New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu will attend the convocation of Kashmir University and also visit the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine during her two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir beginning Wednesday, officials said.
Murmu will also inaugurate a remodelled Parvati Bhavan and skywalk at the revered shrine atop Trikuta hills in Reasi district before concluding her visit, a spokesperson of the Rashtrapati Bhavan said Tuesday.
The work on the much-needed skywalk, which would help separate the pilgrims coming to and leaving the shrine near the Bhawan area, started in August last year.
The facility, 20 feet above the track level, will help overcome the problem of multidirectional flow of the pilgrims and a chaotic condition between Manokamna Bhawan and Gate No-3, the scene of stampede on New Year’s Day in 2022 in which 12 people lost their lives and 16 were injured.
The skywalk with a length of 200 m and width of 2.5 m was completed at a cost of over Rs 9.89 crore, a shrine board official said.
Embarking on her two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on October 11, the president will grace the 20th convocation of the University of Kashmir at Srinagar immediately after her arrival in the city, the spokesperson said.
On the same day, she will interact with members of local tribal groups and women of self-help groups at Raj Bhavan besides attending a civic reception to be hosted in her honour there.
On October 12, the president will visit the Vaishno Devi shrine where she will inaugurate the remodelled Parvati Bhavan.
Last year, the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine board introduced Radio Frequency Identity Cards (RFID) to keep a track on the movement of pilgrims.
According to officials, the pilgrims coming from Sanji Chat route in helicopters or through ponies and those from Himkoti route in battery operated vehicles and ‘palkies’ will be able to use the skywalk to reach Bhawan area.
They said 6000 pilgrims at a time can walk their way into the shrine using the skywalk which will help in speedy movement of the yatra and thus the average time spent by a pilgrim in Bhawan area is expected to be reduced.
The skywalk was planned to help decongestion and better crowd management at Bhawan during peak periods, the officials said, adding wooden flooring was used on the deck for comfortable movement of barefoot yatris.