SMVDSB to open new Katra-Adh Kunwari track soon

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, May 4: Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) is all set to open Tarakote track, an alternate route from Katra to Adh-Kunwari, which is more comfortable, wide and having high end wayside facilities, floating mountains etc, anytime between May 15 to 18 i.e. about a fortnight ahead of the Apex Court’s direction to open the track by May 30.
The new track is seven kilometers long, the 5.5 kilometers of which has been covered with rain shelter shed.
Construction of the track was being monitored on day-to-day basis by Governor NN Vohra, who happens to be the Chairman of the SMVDSB, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Umang Narula and Additional CEO Anshul Garg.
Chief Engineer, SMVDSB, MM Gupta told the Excelsior that the new track will be opened for pilgrims only while mules will continue to take old track. He said that a rain shelter shed on the new track costing over Rs 30 crore has been completed in record time despite all hurdles and constraints of the areas.
The Supreme Court had set a deadline of May 30 for opening of the new track while the SMVDSB has decided to open it ahead of the deadline. The track was likely to be opened between May 15 to 18 for the pilgrims.
Gupta said the track has number of facilities including 5.5 kilometer long rain shelter shed, high end wayside facilities, water ATMs for hot and cold water, ROs, easier gradient for senior citizens, medical help centres, beautiful landscape areas, two Bhojnalayas, fully illuminated track with LED lamps, view points, water body with floating fountains at Tarakote, hill slope stabilization for safety of pilgrims and valley side fencing for safety of pilgrims.
Total cost of the construction of track has been worked out at Rs 80 crore.
The track has also been linked with existing track through 1.5 kilometer long additional track with three culverts and 15 meter span steel girder bridge.
Five water harvesting structures have been completed to overcome water shortage for the pilgrims on the new track. Five DG sets would ensure 24×7 power backup for illumination of Tarakote Marg and wayside facilities.
The new track will also make journey of the pilgrims more pleasurable with four view points and water bodies with three fountains.
“To ensure the safety of children and senior citizens, aesthetically designed steel welded grills have been provided on valley side to avoid any accidental fall and safety from wild animals,” sources said, adding that an additional frisking point has been created for security of pilgrims as an additional security measure.