Governor visits Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, reviews development

Excelsior Correspondent
KATRA, Apr 5 :  Governor  N. N. Vohra, today visited the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji and took stock of the various ongoing development projects launched by the Shrine Board for expanding and upgrading the facilities for the pilgrims, as well as for the beautification and protection of environment.
The Governor, who is the Chairman of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, paid obeisance at the Sanctum Sanctorum and prayed for peace and prosperity of the State. He was accompanied by Usha Vohra, First Lady, Navin Kumar Choudhary, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mandeep K. Bhandari, Additional CEO, Sheetal Nanda, Deputy Commissioner, Reasi, Atul Goel, SSP Reasi, Mr. Mohan Lal, SP Katra, senior Board Officers and others.  
Mr Vohra asked the CEO to improve the pace of construction of pony stand and immediately commence work on the new locker complex in the Bhawan area, both of which were lagging behind the envisaged completion schedules. The 4-storey pony stand, being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 2.57 crore, will provide space for about 350 ponies. The 4-storey New locker complex, estimated to cost Rs. 2.40 crore, will provide about 3000 lockers.
He also asked the CEO to early identify suitable sites for creating additional locker complexes.
He was apprised that the construction of Parvati Bhawan (at the main Bhawan), with a capacity of around 150 beds, is scheduled to be completed this year. The Governor stressed for completion of all projects within the envisaged time frames.
The Governor discussed with the CEO and the Additional CEO of the Board various facets of the comprehensive plan formulated to upgrade infrastructure from Katra to the Holy Cave to meet the requirements of the progressively increasing Yatra which crossed one crore mark last year. These included augmenting accommodation facilities for the Yatris, improving availability of water, sanitation, solid waste management, widening and re-tiling of all the tracks, smoothening of gradients and segregation of mules and pilgrims track by installing dividers.
The Governor was briefed that the work on the dedicated mule track from Katra to Adhkwari is going apace and would be completed shortly. Steps are being taken to increase manpower and use to-date systems for ensuring complete sanitation on the entire Yatra track as well as in the Bhawan area. The Governor also reviewed the to-date status of the Material Ropeway Project from Siar Dabri to Bhawan and Passenger Ropeway up  from Bhawan to Bhairon Temple.
The Governor also reviewed the progress on the various activities being undertaken as part of the year-long Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Shrine Board which had commenced on 30th August last year. These included the Special Sanitation Drive involving manual collection and disposal of huge quantities of garbage which has accumulated over the past years on the hill slopes along the Yatra route between Banganga and Bhawan, setting up additional toilet units along the track; and undertaking extensive renovation of the existing toilet blocks.
Enroute Sanjichhat to the Holy Cave, the Governor reviewed the progress on the plantation drive. He was briefed that 2.25 lakh plants of forest and flowering species were planted from July 2011 to March 2012 to further beautify the area. He issued instructions to the CEO to take all required measures for the continuous repair, improvement and beautification of the track besides replacing tiles wherever required. He also interacted with the Yatris and enquired about their views and impressions about the facilities available for the pilgrimage. The majority of them expressed satisfaction over the arrangements.

Governor N N Vohra on way to holy cave shrine on Thursday.