The Deputy Chief Minister also stressed on cleanliness and improving the sewerage system in the historic town while announcing that the sodium lights will be replaced by LED lights in order to give Katra a better look.
Dr Singh was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the nine-day-long Navratra Festival in the holy town of Katra, which came to a musical conclusion last evening with Chaman Lehri from Reasi and Vanshika Jaral from Jammu sharing the first prize of the mega-final of All India Devotional Song Competition held at Yog Ashram complex, Katra. The Deputy Chief Minister Singh was the Chief Guest on the occasion.
The contest was jointly organised by Department of Tourism, J&K Government, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB), Katra in association with District Administration, Mh Shardha, India News, Zee Anmol, Zee PHH, Big 92.7 FM, J&K Bank, Nidesh Builders, JK Channel, Take1 Channel, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Katra, besides other organizations. The function concluded amidst chanting of Bhajans and beating of drums at Yog Ashram complex, last night.
Shivankur Bharti of Jammu clinched second position in the devotional song competition while the third position was grabbed by Viva Bharti from Kathua. About 14 candidates reached the mega final. Out of 14 candidates, five were from outside the state.
Complementing the managing committee of Navratra Festival and other organisations for extending their cooperation in making the event a grand success, Dr Singh also greeted people on the occasion of Navratra festival and prayed for peace, prosperity, harmony and development of the state.
Noted Bollywood and media personalities including Managing Director, Venus Records & Tapes Ltd, Ganesh Jain, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Mhone Group, Mohinder Batla, Renowned Music Director, Sanjay Vidyarthi and Vice-President, Zee Network, Barkha Arora were the judges of the mega final.
Pankaj Bagrecha, former Vice-President, Zee TV and the man behind famous reality shows like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Lil Champs and Dance India Dance was the special invitee on the occasion.
Mr Vidyarthi staged a live performance and enthralled the audience on the occasion. Rakesh Wazir, Chairman of All India Devotional Competition and President, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Katra, conducted the proceedings of the programme .
Mr AK Sahu, CEO, SMVDSB, also presented welcome address on the occasion and lauded the efforts of all organisations associated with the Navratra Festival.
Later, the Deputy Chief Minister gave away prizes worth Rs 2 lakh in the shape of Gold to the first prize winners. Cash cheques worth Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000 were also given to second and third winners of the competition.
Earlier, Dr Nirmal Singh, lit the sacred jyoti near Asia Chowk, Katra which was taken out in the form of colourful procession with jhankies depicting the rich cultural heritage of the state.