Board for continuous improvements in facilities to meet emerging requirements of pilgrims


Governor chairs 55thmeeting of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board


JAMMU : Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board held its 55thMeeting at the Raj Bhavan here today under the chairmanship of Mr. N. N. Vohra, Governor, who is the Chairman of Shrine Board.

The Board reviewed the to-date progress of all its major projects which are presently underway and took several important decisions for further improving the management and enlargement of infrastructure facilities for the Yatra to the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi.

The meeting was attended by Mr. E. Sreedharan, Dr. S. S. Bloeria, Dr. Ashok Bhan, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Mr. H. L. Maini, Mr. Justice (Retd) Permod Kohli and Maj. Gen. (Retd) Shiv Kumar Sharma, all Board Members, and Dr. Mandeep K. Bhandari, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. M. K. Kumar and Mr. B. Mohandaas, Additional CEO’s of the Shrine Board.

While expressing satisfaction at the pace of execution of various ongoing projects, the Board asked the Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board to ensure the timely completion of all works by mobilising more manpower and other logistics, wherever required.

The Board took stock of the to-date status of the under-construction residential complexes and positioning of equipments and other required components for the operationalization of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Multi-Specialty Hospital which is coming up at Kakryal. It is pertinent to mention that the Shrine Board has last year executed a Concession Agreement with Narayana Hrudayalaya Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, for the operation of this 230 bedded Multi-Specialty Hospital, which is planned to be commissioned by end October, 2015. The Board also reviewed the headway made towards setting up of a Nursing College and a Medical College after this Hospital becomes operational.

Reviewing the implementation of the under-execution major development projects, the Board was informed that the work on putting in place various wayside facilities and completion of electrification and water supply works along the New Track being constructed between Katra and Adhkuwari is in full swing and this track shall be made operational by end May, 2015. This Track shall significantly decongest the existing Track between Katra and Adhkuwari.

The Board was informed that the construction of a Temple Complex, including a queue system and a large waiting hall, to facilitate the pilgrim’s ‘Darshan’ of the Holy Cave (Garbh Joon), is at its final stages of completion. The work on the entire Temple Complex at Adhkuwari shall be completed by end April this year.

While reviewing the status of Rs. 45 crore project being executed by the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation for securing the stabilization of the Trikuta Mountain Slopes for ensuring against falling stones and land-slides on the Track, the Governor asked CEO for taking timely action to also very early get work started for the treatment of the other identified vulnerable sites. This work, under phase-1, has already been taken up for the treatment of 5 most vulnerable sites on the Track between Katra and the Holy Shrine while the work at the remaining sites would be taken up thereafter.

Regarding the project for installation of a state-of-the-art Multi Purpose Audio System along the entire track from Banganga to Bhawan to enhance the ambience for the pilgrims who are moving on the Track, the Board was informed that Optical Fibre Cable has been laid on a large portion of the Track and speakers have also been installed between Adhkuwari and Bhavan. The entire Project shall be fully commissioned by end of June this year. It shall also be used to provide linkage for the functioning of several important services, particularly CCTV, LAN and EPABX and for making public announcements in the event of any emergency.

Regarding the status of construction of Bhairon Ghati Passenger Ropeway (between Bhawan and Bhairon Temple), the Board was informed that the execution of civil work on the Lower Terminal has started. This Project is expected to be completed by end of December this year. Similarly, the work for construction of a Trikuta Hills Material Ropeway (from Siar Dabri to Bhawan) has been allotted and this work would be completed in 24 months. The Chairman stressed the need to guard against any delay in the completion of these two crucial projects.

Reviewing the afforestation activities undertaken by the Shrine Board, the meeting was informed that during the past 5 years nearly 13 lakh plants of forest, horticulture, floriculture and ornamental species have been planted for restoring the green cover of Trikuta Hills. The Chairman reiterated the need for planting more and more indigenous and hardy species of plants for rapidly securing the green cover.

CEO informed that, on the directions of the Governor, the Shrine Board had started raising in-house stock of plants to meet its annual plantation requirements and for this purpose the Shrine Board has set up a hi-tech Plant Nursery near Panthal which would have the capacity of raising 5 lakh plants a year.

As far as the progress on the upcoming Multipurpose Sports Stadium being constructed by the Shrine Board at Katra is concerned, CEO informed the Board that this Project, estimated at cost Rs. 10.76 crore, is at its final stages of completion. This facility would boost the promotion of sports activities in the area and facilitate organization of mega sports events at the State and national levels, apart from promoting rural sports.

CEO reported that, under its Social Responsibility Scheme, the Shrine Board had extended financial support in the form of scholarships to children and for marriage of daughters belonging to the erstwhile Baridar families and dedicated market support has been provided to a large number of local and Baridar families by supporting their Self Help Groups.        CEO informed that the Board is also supporting translation of Dogri literary works into English and Hindi, apart from the publication of 8 editions of Dogri comic booklets.

The Board noted the action taken towards implementation of other projects of the Shrine Board which include the construction of Sewage Treatment Plants in the Shrine Area; establishing accommodation complexes at Jammu and Katra, erection of Wire Mesh Fencing along the entire tracks, widening and re-tiling of the vulnerable stretches of the track for enabling the pilgrims to walk with greater ease.

The meeting noted the CEO’s timely initiative for distributing relief materials among the people affected by floods in the State in September last year.

The Board also approved various schemes which are aimed to promote the welfare and service conditions of different categories of employees, which, interalia, include the enhancement of Hardship Allowance for the employees posted on the Track, introduction of Higher Pay Scale Scheme for the regular employees of the Shrine Board, reimbursement of fees for the children of Shrine Board’s employees who get admitted to the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University and amendments in SMVDSB Medical Re-imbursement Rules-2007. The Board particularly appreciated the promulgation of a comprehensive order for the exercise of Administration, Financial and other powers by the officers of the Board.

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