Reconstitution of Shrine Boards

Do the relevant Acts enacted by the legislature of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in the years 2008 and 2013 give the liberty to the Government not to reconstitute the Shrine Boards following their getting defunct in 2019 ? If not, then what reasons are there for the UT Government in not doing the process of reconstituting the Shrine Boards of Shiv Khori Shrine in Reasi district and Mata Sukrala Devi and Mata Bala Sundari in Kathua district respectively . In other words, it means that the Government was least concerned about the development of these Hindu shrines as also resolving various associated issues like pending court cases and litigations. The extent of the non serious approach of the Government can be gauged by the fact that even the issue of offerings received in these shrines from the devotees cannot be used for the betterment and benefit of these Shrines as various critical decisions cannot be taken during the status of non- functioning of the Shrine Boards .
These Shrine Boards turned “defunct ” following completion of the term of non-official members on such Boards. That means no meeting taking place on account of insufficient quorum and hence no business transaction and virtually, therefore, rendering the purpose of Shrine Boards irrelevant. There are usually problems arising and remaining unresolved in the UT where involvement of public funds is there as non- availability or shortage thereof are the reasons cited . However, there is no involvement of funds from the Government in reconstituting the new Shrine Boards but only absence and deficit of administrative will. According no priority to the matter where faith and related activities are concerned is unwarranted as these shrines are highly revered being famous pilgrimage centres and also carrying lot of importance from religious tourism and consequential related economic activities .
There are well laid down guidelines for nominating non -official members on the Boards as such there should be no problem for the Government as there was sufficient such talent and eligibility available in Jammu vis-a-vis knowledge about the Sanatan Hindu religion and about administration, legal affairs, financial matters and journalism et-al. We have also come to know that in February this year, the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu who happens to be the Chairperson of these Shrine Boards, had suggested a few names and forwarded the list to the Government so that from out of that list, the non -official members could be nominated and the Shrine Boards thus reconstituted. However, it appears that the Government being engrossed in “other priorities” has taken no decision so far. Boarding and lodging facilities for visiting pilgrims and bettering the ambiance and the environment around the Shrines in Kathua continue to be unattended despite the fact that the footfall of the devotees paying obeisance at these shrines is increasing each year . Should there be really some problem in not reconstituting these Shrine Boards in the immediate near future, the Government can issue orders to the concerned district administrations to step into their shoes so that these Shrines do not keep on suffering because of the peculiar bureaucratic red-tape affecting these Shrine Boards.
May we sound a word of caution that the element of uncertainty , now for more than two years in respect of reconstituting of these Shrine Boards, has virtually played the part of spoilsports in respect of development of and around these Shrines and withheld taking decisions on other related issues which does not auger well. We hope that the concerned Shrine Boards would be reconstituted at an early date .