DAR sent to Centre gathers dust for last two years

DAR sent to Centre gathers dust for last two years
DAR sent to Centre gathers dust for last two years

Purmandal-Utterbehni restoration to wait more

Sanjeev K Sharma

PURMANDAL, Feb 27: The restoration of Purmandal-Utterbehni pilgrimage places to their pristine glory will take more time as the Detailed Appraisal Report (DAR) containing proposal under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) sent to the Union Government more than two years back in this regard is gathering dust there for lacking proper parameters required as per norms of Union Tourism Ministry.
Reliable sources informed that during his J&K visit on December 17, 2019, the Union MoS Tourism had asked officers about some place in J&K which needs to be developed and the latter, in turn, mentioned about Purmandal-Utterbehni shrines and said that these places should be developed as religious tourism spots.
“After that DAR was made, in haste, and sent to the Directorate of Tourism J&K and the Directorate in turn forwarded the same to Union Tourism Ministry on January 27, 2020,” they said.
The DAR demanded a package of Rs. 5054.16 lakh from Union Ministry of Tourism (MoT) under PRASHAD scheme so that the most important requirement of the local population particularly of the pilgrims is fulfilled.
The DAR claimed Rs 3499.12 lakh for development of tourism infrastructure at Purmandal and Rs.1505 lakh for development of tourist infrastructure at Utterbehni along with a labour cess @ 1% which comes out to be Rs. 50.04 lakh.
“Now after a lapse of more than two years, the MoT has not accepted the proposals as they only consider DAR made by experts on the subject and that too in a particular format fulfilling all the parameters,” sources informed.
They said that as the DAR sent to MoT failed to satisfy the parameters of Union MoT, no response has been given to J&K Government on it.
“If the J&K Government is serious on the issue it only needs to hire a consultant who has past record of working with Union MoT to make a DAR which satisfies all the required parameters of MoT, so that the DAR is considered and funds are released,” sources maintained adding that even Rs. 5054.16 lakh project is not sufficient for the development works required at these twin pilgrimage places.
Meanwhile, Dharmarth Trust—the authorized custodian of Purmandal-Utterbehni shrines seems to have come out of its slumber as after many years, the temples of Lord Shiva at Purmandal and Utterbehni will be beautifully decorated and colourfully illuminated on upcoming Shivratri festival this year, though this is a routine practice at almost every temple of Lord Shiva across the world on Shivratri.
“Colourful illuminations will be done at the Shiva temples of Purmandal and Utterbehni this Shivratri while the renovation, repair and painting works at these shrines are presently underway at Purmandal,” Dharmarth Trust president, Ajay Gandotra told Excelsior over phone.
He also informed that a delegation of the Trust has recently met Deputy Commissioner (DC) Samba with demands of developments at the twin pilgrimage places wherein the DC had informed that the district administration is planning a Mela/Festival at these places of utmost religious importance.
It is pertinent to mention here that these twin shrines have faced an utter neglect of authorities at the helm for decades together leaving both these places to rot notwithstanding their importance apart from their direct relation with Dogra culture while the renowned poetess Padma Sachdev along with many other artists like Mohan Lal Goswami (renowned painter), writers and others hailed from this region.
Most of the historic inns of the era of Dogra rulers at Purmandal have already become ruins while the main temple premises was also in a bad shape while the shrines at Utterbehni were comparatively in a better shape with a good road leading to the historic temples constructed by the Dogra rulers of erstwhile J&K State.
“There used to be a Sanskrit Vidyalaya at Utterbehni which is now submerged in silt after the devastating flood in holy river Devika hit the institute in the year 1942,” a local elder at the shrine informed.
Utterbehni area has three main temples—Gadadhar temple, Abhimukteshwar temple and Ranvireshwar temple.
A devotee—Radhika Sharma, 34, from Jain Bazar Jammu, who paid obeisance at the Gadadhar temple on her third visit at the place, said that the shrine lacks a number of facilities.
She informed that on priority there should be some proper sitting arrangement for the visiting devotees.
Similar were the views of Hira Lal Sharma, 75, also from Jammu who informed that he was visiting the place for the last 25 years but noticed no significant development at the pilgrimage place during this period.
Sunil Sudan of Patoli, Jammu, a visiting devotee at Ranvireshwar Temple, Uttarbehni informed that the temple was white washed on last Shivratri by some volunteers.
He hoped that the Dharmarth Trust should ensure more facilities at these places of religious importance.
Pandit Subash Sharma at the temple informed about the religious importance of these shrines and said that Dogra rulers had planned to develop the shrines of Purmandal-Utterbehni on the pattern of those at Kashi—a pilgrimage place in Uttar Pradesh which is of utmost religious importance in Hinduism.
When contacted DC Samba, Anuradha Gupta said a project under PRASHAD has already been sent to the Government of India for the development of Purmandal-Utterbehni pilgrimage places and they are following it.
“As these places of pilgrimage were neglected for years together so it will take some time for their restoration though the same is high on our priority,” the DC Samba maintained.
Director Tourism, Vivekanand Rai when contacted said that some works under CAPEX are going on at the pilgrimage place of Purmandal-Utterbehni and “we will project more works under CAPEX, if required.”
Avtar Singh, concerned District Development Council member claimed that project for development of Purmandal-Utterbehni shrines is in pipeline under the project PRASHAD under which renovation of these shrines and other places associated with them will be done.