Make Board for Chandi Mata Machail pilgrimage: Naresh

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 12: The Congress Legislator from Bhaderwah, Naresh Gupta today  projected strong demand to set up a Management Board on the pattern of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board for Chandi Mata Machail pilgrimage in remote Padder area of district Kishtwar.
Raising question  in the Legislative Council today, the Congress member pointed out that nearly 6 lakh pilgrims visited Chandi Mata Machail  during annual pilgrimage this year.  He said there was strong need to set up Shrine Board for managing the affairs of the pilgrimage, make facilities for the yatris and ensure over all development of the area.
He said there are reports of mis-management every year whether it is helicopter service, water, accommodation, power, road  or  transport facilities. The constitution of  Management Board was a popular demand of the people, he maintained.
While responding to the question, Minister of State for Tourism, Priya Sethi said it is fact that there has been strong demand to constitute Board for Chandi Mata Dham at Machail-Paddar (Gulabgarh) and in this regard a Private Member’s Bill was also tabled in the Lower House by BJP MLA RS Pathania during 2016. The Tourism department examined the viability of the Board and found that Yatra is of just one month duration. No doubt yatra needs better management by providing infrastructure and other facilities to the pilgrims during yatra period, but it is also necessary to examine the viability as the expected revenue  from the offerings should be able to provide, not only  salaries to the employees, but also for development works aimed at facilities to the pilgrims. Moreover, all the stake holders are needed to be consulted before going for such a decision. She however, said that some facilities for tourists/ pilgrims are being created at Gulabgarh- Padder with the cost of Rs 10 lakh this year.