SMVD Shrine Board for urgent measures for protection of Banganga River

JAMMU: The 59th meeting of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was held at Kakryal under the chairmanship of Governor N. N. Vohra, Chairman of the Shrine Board.

In its four hour long deliberations the Board  reviewed the status of each of the major ongoing infrastructure development projects in the Shrine area and took several  significant decisions for enlarging and augmenting arrangements  for the pilgrims to ensure that the progressively increasing number of Yatris visiting the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Mata Vishno Devi are provided the best possible facilities.

The meeting reviewed the preparation, status of the Master Plan for the entire Shrine are from Banganga to Bhawan and of the Nursing College being formulated by the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Governor emphasized that work for the formulation of Master Plan for the Shrine area must be finalized speedily so that the creation of new facilities and enlarging the existing infrastructure is based on a 40-50 years perspective of arising requirements. He directed that once the Master Plans are finalised time bound action must be taken to ensure the implementation of its various components.

Chairman observed that significant improvements having been put in place regarding the  facilities to be provided for the pilgrims it has become necessary to also focus on  improvement of aesthetics, distinctiveness, novelty and uniqueness of various utilities and extensively used products in the Shrine area. In this context the CEO had been directed to process initiatives for developing products and systems which are functionally efficient, unique in design and enhance comfort of visiting pilgrims. In this background, the Board approved the National Institute of Design,  Ahmedabad (NID), being engaged to undertake preparation of attractive designs for  prasad bags, dustbins, hot and cold beverage kiosks, luggage locker system, horse saddle, horse poop bag, baggage trolley etc. NID have also been entrusted with the task of designing user friendly signage systems, including information and directional signages, informative maps, information kiosks for facilitating pilgrims etc. CEO stated that consequent to the Governor inviting the Rural Technology Group to assist the Shrine Board, the Palki used for carrying  pilgrims has been redesigned by IIT Mumbai which has enormously reduced the loads carried by the Palkiwalas.

Governor reiterated his directions to CEO and Board officers for making  maximum use of technological interventions which are pilgrim-friendly and, side by side,  promote protection of environment and ensure sanitation and perfect cleanliness in the Shrine area.

The Board directed CEO to take time bound action for preparation of a DPR for the  protection, rejuvenation and development of Banganga to secure the much needed objectives within a set time frame. Governor directed CEO to ensure that all the directions of the National Green Tribunal for securing a pollution free environment in the entire Shrine area, particularly along the Banganga, are implemented on a time bound basis.

The Board reviewed the creation of civic infrastructure in Sira Colony and its surrounding areas. Pertinent to recall that the six development works valuing Rs. 254.45 lakhs are currently under execution in Sira-Kakryal. These works include construction of drains, improving facilities at the Government Primary School Kakryal,  installing Stainless Steel Bus Passenger Sheds, constructing a Community Hall, street lights and undertaking plantations along the major link  roads. On the Governor’s  direction CEO has prepared a plan of taking up additional works costing Rs. 124.98 lakh for providing civic amenities in Sira Colony. These works, which include laying of chequered tiles in lanes, construction of footpath and drain in Bazar area in Sira Colony, construction of additional accommodation in Government Primary School Sira and providing street lights in Sira Colony, were approved by the Board at an expenditure of Rs. 379.43 lakh. Governor directed CEO for ensuring timely completion of all the envisaged works to benefit the residents of the area,  particularly the students in the general area of Sool, Sira, Tareen and Kakryal.

The Board  also approved the Annual Greening Plan of the Trikuta Hills area of the Shrine and directed CEO to ensure planting of attractive species along the tracks and for the  protection of the hill slopes. Chairman also directed quality plants of varied species and flower seedlings being raised  in the Shrine Board’s Nursery to meet entire sapling requirements under the Greening Action Plan 2017-18.

The Board reviewed functioning of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi College of Nursing,  Kakryal,  and of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Gurukul and lauded the outstanding achievements of its students in academics as well as in extra-curricular activities. The meeting reviewed the construction of Phase-II of the Gurkul which will be completed well before the commencement of Shastri classes in summer this year.All the Gurukul students  are being  provided free education, boarding, lodging, uniforms, books and other required facilities by the Board.

Reviewing the activities of the Shrine Board’s Sports Complex, Katra, Governor directed CEO to organizing a State wide  talent hunt in identified sports and games to ensure that students with high potential are provided the best training to achieve international level performance levels.

The meeting also took a detailed review of the Audit Report for 2015-16 and Income and Expenditure Statement of the Board for 2016-17 and approved Budget for the Year 2017-18 for each of  the institutions supported by the Board.

Before the commencement of discussions, CEO gave a detailed presentation on the to-date status of varied activities of the Shrine Board and the action taken on the implementation of various decisions of the previous meetings of the Board.

Dr. E. Sreedharan, Dr. S. S. Bloeria, Dr. Ashok Bhan, Mr. H. L. Maini, Mr. Justice (Retd) Permod Kohli, Maj. Gen. (Retd) Shiv Kumar Sharma and Mr. B. B. Vyas, all Board Members; and Mr. Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Piyush Singla and Dr. M. K. Kumar, both Additional CEOs of the Shrine Board, attended the meeting.