SOPs For Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra Under New Rules Being Prepared: Ramesh Kumar

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Katra, May 17: CEO of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Ramesh Kumar said that the Shrine Board is in the process of formulating SOPs for the resumption of the yatra once the lockdown is lifted even as the pilgrimage will start only when directions from Home Ministry are issued.

The video conference on the topic “Way Forward For Tourism & Shri Vaishnodevi Yatra Post Covid-19” was attended by Parvez Dewan, former Advisor to J&K Governor & former Secretary Tourism, Govt of India; K B Kachru, Member SMVDSB & Chairman Emeritus South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, PHDCCI National Vice President; Pardeep Multani, former National President PHDCCI; Anil Khaitan, Ajay K Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarover Hotel & Resorts; Garish Oberoi, former President, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Association of India; Sujit Kumar Singh, DIG, Reasi-Katra-Udhampur Range; Navin Berry, Chief Editor Destination India Magzine; BITB Conclaves (Founder SATTE) Director Mallika Verma; PHDCCI ‘s Jammu Region Chapter Chairman Rakesh Wazir; Co-Chairman Rahul Sahai; former Chairman Vikrant Kuthiala; Kashmir Region Mentor Mushtaq Chaya and other.

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CEO SMVDSB said that the Board is considering to undertake online registration of devotees while GPS-enabled systems are also under consideration to track pilgrims in real-time to ensure they adhere to social distancing measures.

Ramesh Kumar further disclosed that they are considering installing of door-mounted thermal scanning at multiple places enroute Bhawan while the bed capacity at free dormitories is being reduced temporarily to implement social distancing measures. He added that only family members, and not unrelated people, are going to be permitted to use the paid lodging to reduce the chances of the spread of the infection.

Parvez Dewan suggested for reduction in quota of Yatra to 33 percent for initial few months. He further suggested for restricting the yatra to some of neighboring States till the situation improves.

Rakesh Wazir said that Vaishnodevi pilgrimage contributes vigorously towards economy of not only J&K but adjoining States as well due to this lockdown, 4 to 5 lakh have become un employed with a daily loss of INR 10-12 crores per day.

K B Kachru suggested that any plan of re-opening must be done keeping long term benefits and safety compliances in mind and for this we need to do ground level work to evaluate the things to get survive out from this unwilling pandemic situation followed by different sugestions by others.