Governor N. N. Vohra, who is Chairman of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board chaired a meeting to review the progress of the various major infrastructure development projects. The meeting, held at the Raj Bhavan Jammu, was attended by all the Jammu based Board Members: Dr. S. S. Bloeria, Dr. Ashok Bhan, Mr. H. L. Maini, Mr. Justice (Retd) Permod Kohli and Maj. Gen. (Retd) Shiv Kumar Sharma. Mr. Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board; Ms. Sushma Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner, Reasi and Mr. Sujit Kumar, SSP Reasi also participated in the discussions.
As regards the New Track which is nearing completion the meeting reiterated the Shrine Board’s earlier decision to maintain the upcoming Track for use by pilgrims who walk to the Shrine. CEO clarified that there is no plan for running battery cars for transporting pilgrims on the New Track which shall however be used for carrying of materials to the construction sites and for emergency evacuation and related purposes. While maintaining the sanctity of the existing track from Darshani Deori to AdhKuwari, the new track will ease the rush and provide a good walking experience to the pilgrims who like to move on foot.
The meeting also decided that the new track shall be linked from the Banganga side and requested Shri H. L. Maini, Technical Consultant and Hon’ble Member of the Board, to have the connecting link completed on an early basis. The CEO informed that the wayside amenities the New Track would be completed in the next two months.
The Governor directed the CEO to co-ordinate with all concerned agencies to see that the Banganga area is developed in a systematic manner for restoring the river and protecting the environment. He also directed the DC to ensure full support for this project.
In the context of the case pending before the National Green Tribunal, at New Delhi, regarding the regulation of movement of ponies on the track, the Governor directed the DC, Reasi to immediately start registration of equines and their owners/ operators through the ‘Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)’, as envisaged under the J&K Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, after ensuring that the health of every pony/mule being registered had been certified by the Animal Husbandry Department.
The DC Reasi was directed to ensure that all the animals and their owners follow the prescribed norms and do not violate the provisions of law especially with regard to the health and welfare of the equines.
The Governor directed the CEO to move the Secretary Animal Husbandry Department to establish and operate well equipped veterinary clinics, with the required complement of veterinary doctors and staff at Katra and Adhkuwari.
The Board Members stressed that, as per the directions of Hon’ble High Court, CEO shall be responsible for all the arrangements with regard to regulation of movement of equines on the tracks. CEO was directed to put in place prepaid system of hiring equines to ensure that there is no overcharging or cheating of pilgrims and the due payment is made to the pony owner/operator immediately on the completion of the journey. DC Reasi was directed to ensure that all mule-sheds and pony-stables situated along the Banganga are urgently shifted away from the river as per NGTs directions, to ensure against the pollution of the Banganga River.
The Governor also reviewed the status progress of the project to develop an improved Palki of superior design and less weight, which is being done with the technical assistance of the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Mumbai, under the overall supervision of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister. The CEO informed that the prototype has already been developed by the IDC Mumbai and trial and testing is in progress. Chairman desired CEO to have the new design Palki early cleared for use by the Palki wallahs.
The Governor directed CEO and DC Reasi to identify and inform him about suitable projects for Katra which can be taken up and implemented by the Board. The Governor lauded the efforts made by Shri B. Mohandaas, Administrator, Municipal Committee Katra, for implementing and completing several projects for the development of civic facilities in Katra town.
The meeting noted that the Shrine Board cannot assist the construction of the new Bus Stand as the required land has not so far become available. In this background the CEO was directed to urgently prepare a proposal for improving the facilities and condition of the existing Bus stand so that the area had a clean and presentable look.
The Governor expressed dissatisfaction on the lack of progress in the acquisition of land for the new Helipad at Katra. He directed DC, Reasi to expeditiously complete the land acquisition process for construction of the new Helipad at the identified alternate site and stressed the urgency of the land issue being settled without any further delay so that the Helipad could be shifted out of the town.
The Governor directed the CEO to immediately review on site all problems relating to the persons rehabilitated in Sira Colony near SMVDU and forward an urgent report along with cost estimates.
The Governor also reviewed the progress of the Super Specialty Hospital and the Nursing College. CEO reported that for commencing admissions to the Nursing College all the required formalities were being completed timely.
Besides the Governor also reviewed the security of the Shrine and directed SSP Reasi to ensure foolproof security without any exception or compromise. SSP Reasi advised that his task would be supported if the CEO were to put in place a mechanism so that each and every person moving on the track can be promptly identified. The Governor directed the CEO to take urgent necessary action to ensure cent per cent verification of all persons living or working in any establishment of the track and for photo identity cards to be provided to each persons with prompt support from SSP Reasi.