President pays obeisance at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine
Governor briefs about initiatives taken by Shrine Board to facilitate pilgrims
KATRA, SEPTEMBER 2 – Shri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, visited the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji today and paid obeisance at the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Mr. Mukherjee prayed for the progress and prosperity of the people of the country.
Earlier, the President accompanied by Shri N. N. Vohra, Governor Jammu and Kashmir and Chairman of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, arrived at Panchhi Helipad on the New Track, where he was received by Dr. Mandeep K. Bhandari, Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board. The President inaugurated this large Helipad which has been recently constructed by the Shrine Board to add to the existing facilities, particularly to meet any emergency at or near the Shrine.
On reaching Bhawan, the President inaugurated Shridhar Elevator, in the presence of the Governor. The Elevator, which connects the Track with Shridhar Bhawan, has been installed by the Shrine Board with a view to facilitate elderly, physically challenged, women and other pilgrims who face difficulty in climbing stairs to reach Shridhar Bhawan, Kalika Bhawan, SDM Office and Reception.
Later, the Governor briefed the President about the continuing initiatives being taken by the Shrine Board for the upgradation and expansion of the infrastructure for facilitating the progressively increasing number of pilgrims to the Holy Shrine. He said that accommodation for pilgrims at Bhawan, Adhkuwari, Katra and Jammu has been augmented and water and power supply is being augmented to meet the emerging requirements of the pilgrimage. He added that health care facilities for the pilgrims have been further strengthened on the Tracks and at Bhawan. He briefed the President about the upcoming Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Institute of Medical Excellence as a multi-Speciality Hospital at Kakryal, near Katra.
The Governor observed that, under his direction, focus on environmental preservation is continuing to be accorded very high priority and, towards the furtherance of this objective, plantation of Trikuta Hills has been undertaken on a very large scale. During the last five years, more than 8 lakh plants of indigenous species have been planted in the Trikuta Hills.
The Governor also briefed the President about the functioning of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University which has been established by the Shrine Board at Kakryal and the efforts underway to develop it as a major centre of excellence in teaching and research in the coming years.