CCTVs for pilgrims’ safety

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi has been the lifeline of Jammu beyond any doubt. Jammu’s economy is dependent on almost one crore pilgrim tourists throughout the year. From time to time different plans are devised to increase the facilities offered to these pilgrims, augmentation of Jammu railway station, airport, and direct trains to Katra base camp to name a few. Similarly, at Katra better provisions for waiting yatris, more ticketing counters, moreyatribhavans at Bhavan, helicopter services, battery-operated vehicles, second tunnel and track have been added from time to time to augment existing infra and facilities. A more recent addition is the ropeway from Bhawan to Bhairon temple and a proposed mythological museum at Katra. But despite all these initiatives 1st January 2022 stampede episode at Bhawan once again exposed the inadequate arrangements at Bhawan. It is a limited place with very little scope for holding large gatherings for a long time.
It has to be like come, perform puja and start your return journey. Any break in this set schedule results in an extraordinary situation and will ultimately lead to a moment of mortification. Special arrangements for VVIPs only exacerbate the existing problem resulting in the collapse of flailing arrangements. SMVDSB has now introduced RFID tags, mandatory now, pilgrims without them are not allowed darshans and are even penalised. To further track and regulate the movement of pilgrims now seven hundred CCTV cameras have been installed to monitor the situation proactively. This is a wise and timely value addition pending for too long. Not only will this streamline the pilgrim yatra but other shortcomings in the facilities will also be observed and removed in time. All these efforts make yatris safer and better facilities make their yatra memorable, a must for tourism promotion, a well-managed security and facilities are the ultimate tourist promoters.