Jammu and Kashmir News
KATRA, SEPTEMBER 24 – Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Dr. Pawan Kotwal today chaired a meeting to review the preparedness for Navratra festival to be held from October 13 to 21 in the foothills of the holy shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra.
The Divisional Commissioner asked the officers of the PWD (R&B) to ensure that all the roads leading to Katra have proper lighting arrangements and the roads are repaired on speedy basis. He asked the PDD officers to ensure uninterrupted power supply during the festival and instructed the PHE department to ensure supply of potable drinking water to the pilgrims during the event.
The Divisional Commissioner said that the economy of Jammu revolves around the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage as around 1 crore pilgrims visit this holy shrine every year. While the mega event could not be held last year due to floods in the state, but this time, no stone should be left unturned to make the event a huge success.
The IGP, Jammu Danish Rana informed the Divisional Commissioner that fool proof security arrangements will be put in place to ensure the safety of devotees during the pilgrimage. He said already instructions have been issued to carry out anti-sabotage checks, access control and frisking of public to ensure that incidents of crime, pickpocketing and stampede are checked.
He also directed SSP Reasi and SP Katra to devise a viable traffic management system for better management of yatra.
Director Tourism, Jammu R K Verma informed in the meeting that the department wants to concentrate on specific tourism promotional activities at mega scale.
Briefing the Divisional Commissioner about the various programmes to be organized during the festival, Director Tourism said that the festival will begin on October 13 with lighting of traditional lamp followed by Shobha Yatra, depicting the cultural heritage of the state and the country.
To promote the budding artists, an All India Devotional Song Competition will be organized at Yog Ashram, Katra. Besides this, cultural programmes will be organized by Song and Drama Division, Government of India including children programmes like painting, drawing and debate competitions, rally on environmental awareness, yoga display event and prize distribution function at Government Higher Secondary School, Katra. The Divisional Commissioner was of the view that the culture of whole country should be depicted in these programmes.
During the festival, the devotees will get a chance to listen to religious discourses by spiritual personalities on Ramayan and Bhagwat Gita path to be organized by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB).
The International Wrestling Competition to be organized by J&K Indian Style Wrestling Association will be the main attraction of the festival. The wrestlers hailing from Belarus, England and Ukraine will flex muscles with the local wrestlers adding to the splendor of the festival. Besides this, Hasaya Vyang, Kavi Samellan and cultural programmes will be organized by the concerned committees to give a traditional look to the event.
The Divisional Commissioner said that Hasaya Vyang programme should promote healthy humour and informative messages on Swachh Bharat Mission or promoting education should go across the society through this event.
Kotwal instructed the concerned officers to review the practice of showering petals from the helicopter and instead inspire some children to dress up in traditional attire to welcome the yatra by showering petals from the flower baskets atop the major buildings on the yatra route procession.
The Director Tourism appealed the representatives of Hotel and Restaurant Association, Travel Agents Association and the local shopkeepers to illuminate their establishments and keep the city clean and green throughout the festival so that a positive message goes around the nation.
The Divisional Commissioner was informed in the meeting that sub-committees have been formed for the smooth conduct of different events to be organized during the nine-day festival.
He was apprised about a number of issues during the meeting with different delegations of prominent citizens, civil society and local representatives. In response to the issues raised by them, Divisional Commissioner announced that a thorough review of development projects of the holy town shall be undertaken after the culmination of Navratras with special emphasis on water supply, sanitation, lighting, road connectivity, stray cattle and providing better facilities not only to the pilgrims but also to local residents of Katra.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioner, Reasi Sushma Chauhan, Chief Executive Officer, SMVDSB A K Sahu, SSP Traffic National Highway Sanjay Kotwal, Director Urban Local Bodies Soujanya Sharma, Director Doordarshan, Jammu Anajali Sharma, Director Radio Kashmir, Jammu V K Sambyal, Joint Director Information, Jammu Nagendra Singh Jamwal, General Manager JKTDC Anju Gupta, SP Reasi Sujit Kumar, President J&K Indian Style Wrestling Association, Shiv Kumar Sharma and other officers of concerned departments.