JAMMU, Jan 25: National Conference Provincial President Devender Singh Rana today strongly supported the popular demand of constitution of shrine boards for regulation of Hindu temples and shrines on the analogy of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board across Jammu and Kashmir without political interference, saying these will lead to their better management in the larger interest of the populations and places of worship in respective areas.
Interacting with the religious preachers and eminent persons associated with the Dharmarth Trust, who called on him, the Provincial President said the massive transformation of the revered Vaishno Devi Shrine on Trikuta Hills and its peripheral areas particularly the holy township of Katra stands testimony to changes that can be brought about, not only in the upkeep of worship places but also in the vicinities around, in terms of economic activities.
He said that better infrastructural facilities assume immense significance with the growing number of devotees thronging the shrines and temples to seek spiritual bliss. They are to be provided with standard facilities like lodges, roads and other utility services. This can be achieved only by robust bodies managing the religious places with a vision; he said and referred to the influx of over ten million pilgrims annually to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine.
The Provincial President also referred to the legislations piloted by National Conference with regard to Kashmiri Hindu Shrines and Religious Places (Management and Regulation) Bill twice, when in the Opposition, saying the objective was to manage the shrines and temples across the Valley, as also to protect the assets attached to these. The same bill could be broad based to cover the entire Jammu and Kashmir under its ambit. For this, a consensus is necessary to set up the boards with representative character, he said, adding that the local stakeholders can run the managements in a transparent manner after having boards in place through democratic means without governmental interference. He said the boards could be evolved as autonomous entities.
He said Jammu and Kashmir is enriched with ancient shrines and temples and thus can be promoted as a premier pilgrim tourism destination in the country. The better management will lead to upgrading facilities which will prove a boon to pilgrim arrivals and eventually giving fillip to economies of each area. In the process the local stakeholders, especially youth will get benefited in a big way, he added.
National Conference leaders Chander Mohan Sharma, Som Nath Khajuria and Anil Dhar were also present.
Those who called on the Provincial President included Mrs Vivek Bandral, President Dharmarth Trust Employees Association, Sumit Sharma, Kernail Chand, Balwant Sharma, Bablu Kumar, B.M Sharma, Subash Sharma, Sonali Khajuria, Pt. Parshotam Sharma, Pt Bharat Sharma, Pt Om Parkash Sharma, Pritam Sharma and others.