Take all steps for security, safety of pilgrims: Guv

Governor Satya Pal Malik e-inaugurating Bhawan-Bhairon Ghati ropeway project from Raj Bhawan in Jammu on Monday.
Governor Satya Pal Malik e-inaugurating Bhawan-Bhairon Ghati ropeway project from Raj Bhawan in Jammu on Monday.

Govt to inter link tourist spots in Jammu
Bhawan-Bhairon ropeway launched

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Dec 24: Governor Satya Pal Malik today called for taking all measures for safety and security of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi ji pilgrims as he inaugurated Bhawan-Bhairon Ghati passenger ropeway project for the pilgrims from the Raj Bhawan here after which the service for the pilgrims was formally launched.
While e-inaugurating the prestigious and high-tech project, which has been completed at a cost of Rs 85 crore, the Governor drew the attention of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) officials towards ropeway tragedy at Panchkula in Haryana and called upon them to keep safety of the pilgrims high on their agenda while operating the service.
However, the Governor was assured that Bhawan-Bhairon ropeway project has been constructed at par with European standards and has all requisite safety norms. The project has three tier safeties and in case of failure of one system, it will switch over to second and third systems automatically. Click here to watch video
Apart from safety of the pilgrims travelling through ropeway on Bhawan-Bhairon track, Malik also called for taking all adequate measures for security of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji pilgrims in view of ever increasing rush of the yatris to the holy cave shrine.
Recalling the efforts made by former Chairman and officers of SMVDSB in execution of the project, the Governor further advised for taking all possible measures to make the ropeway service hassle-free, He emphasized on rescue and relief part of the ropeway, which, according to him, should match the international standards.
SMVDSB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Simrandeep Singh told the Excelsior that all safety concerns of the ropeway project have been addressed during the trial and it was successful.
As far as security of the pilgrims was concerned, he said the Board is engaging 20 Enforcement Sahayaks and security of the shrine is constantly reviewed with Shrine Board, police, para-military and officials of other security and Intelligence agencies.
“We conducted trial service of ropeway project yesterday free of cost and from today, the service has been launched formally after its e-inauguration by the Governor, who also happens to be Chairman of the Shrine Board,” Singh, who took keen interest in launch of the project at the earliest, said.
The passenger ropeway project has been completed by the Shrine Board at a cost of about Rs 85 crore, including its allied infrastructure and related pilgrim-centric facilities. It has a carrying capacity of 800 persons per hour.
Meanwhile, sources said, the Shrine Board was anticipating further increase in yatra to Mata Vaishno Devi Ji shrine after the launch of ropeway project. It was first of its kind ropeway project in entire Jammu region.
Sources said the Government has also worked out an ambitious plan to promote tourism in Jammu region by diverting heavy rush of pilgrims to Mata Vaishno Devi Ji shrine to other places of tourism.
“The Government proposed to inter link the spots of tourism interest to facilitate visit of pilgrim tourists to other places,” sources said, adding that the visit of even 10 percent pilgrims tourists to other places, would augur well.
With the completion of this ambitious project, the pilgrims visiting the holy cave shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji will be able to fulfill their life-long wish of paying obeisance at Bhairon ji Temple which was earlier difficult, particularly for the elderly and specially-abled pilgrims owing to a steep climb to an altitude of 6600 feet from the sea level.
The Ropeway will also reduce the travel time of the one way journey between Bhawan and Bhairon Temple from one hour to just about three minutes. The Board has decided to charge a highly subsidized to and fro ticket of Rs. 100 per passenger to enable the maximum number of pilgrims to avail this facility.
The Bhawan-Bhairon Passenger Ropeway Project has been executed by a consortium of M/s Garaventa AG, Switzerland and M/s Damodar Ropeways Construction Co. (P) Ltd., Kolkata under the consultancy and overall supervision of M/s RITES Ltd. The Electro-Mechanical Components and Cabins of the Ropeway have been imported from Switzerland.
The Passenger Ropeway System has been fully equipped with all safety norms as per relevant standards and codes. The Board has established a Ticketing Hall, Automated Fare Collection System Counters, Turnstile Barrier Gates, stairs and Ramp leading to the Ropeway Station and other associated facilities for the pilgrims. The Passenger Ropeway is Bi-Cable Jig-Back System, having two fully enclosed spacious Cabins with a carrying capacity of 40-45 persons in each Cabin in one go.
It also has provision of ventilation etc. The horizontal distance of the Passenger Ropeway is 375 meters, vertical rise of 236 meters and a slope length of 443 meters. It has a complete power back up system at the drive station.
The Board at its 63rd meeting held recently approved additional life insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh for Ropeway passengers which will be over and above the insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh already available to track yatris.
It is further pertinent to mention here that a special Puja was conducted at Bhawan on December 23 in the presence of CEO Shrine Board Simrandeep Singh and other officers manning the operations after which the facility was operated free of cost for the yatris for accessing passenger flow and management.
Dr S S Bloeria, Dr Ashok Bhan, H L Maini, Justice (Retd) Permod Kohli, all Board Members; B V R Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to the Governor; former CEOs of Shrine Board, Raj Kumar Goyal, Navin Choudhary and Ajeet Kumar Sahu were also present at the inauguration of ropeway project besides Simrandeep Singh, Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board and Vivek Verma, Additional Chief Executive Officer and other officers.