Srinagar, September 11(Scoop News)-Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board held its 52nd Meeting at New Delhi, on 10th September, 2013, under the Chairmanship of the Governor, N. N. Vohra, who is the Chairman of Shrine Board. The Board took a number of important decisions to improve the management of the Yatra to the Holy Shrine.
The Board reviewed the todate progress of each of the major works and projects which are presently underway and directed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to ensure their timely completion. While approving the process underway for selecting a suitable partner to operate Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Institute of Medical Excellence (SMVDIME) Katra, as a Multi Specialty Hospital, the Board reiterated its earlier direction that the medical facilities to be provided to the pilgrims, residents of the region and those living elsewhere shall need to be of adequately high standard and rationally priced. The Board also approved the Detailed Project Report of this important Medical Institute which will involve an expenditure of approximately Rs. 285 crores. The Board also directed the establishment of a Medical College after the Medical Institute has got going.
The Board was informed about the to-date status of the approximately Rs. 45 crore project being executed by the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation for securing the stabilization of the Trikuta mountain slopes and thus ensuring against falling stones and land-slides which have been causing serious injuries to the pilgrims. This project which involves the treatment of 24 slide prone sites above the tracks to the Shrine is planned to be implemented within a given time frame over the next 2½ years.
The Board was informed that the project for a Multi Purpose Audio System being installed along the entire track from Banganga to Bhawan has the objective of enhancing the ambience for the pilgrims who are moving on the track. This system, to be installed through the reputed M/s BOSE Coy is planned to be completed by August, 2014. The state-of-the-art audio system, which would cost around Rs. 12 crore, shall also be used to provide linkage for the functioning of several important services, particularly CCTV, LAN, EPABX and for making public announcements in the event of any emergency.
The Board was informed about the sustained attention being devoted for enlarging the infrastructure for the progressively increasing Yatra, which crossed 1.05 crore last year. In this context, the Board was informed that the Aashirvad Complex at Katra and Parvati Complex at Bhawan, two major accommodation projects costing over Rs. 10.88 crore, had been completed. The Board noted that, for meeting the projected increase in the pressure on the facilities consequent to the opening of the Udhampur-Katra Railway link later this year, the Chairman has directed the time-bound implementation of several arrangements, including the creation of increased Locker facilities and improving the Toilet complexes along the entire track.
The Board expressed satisfaction on the very rapid pace at which the Rs. 15 crore Kalika Dham at Jammu is being completed and noted that this excellent facility shall become available for use of the pilgrims by March, 2014. The Board noted the action taken towards relocation of the existing Locker complexes, installation of five new Solar Water Heating Projects on various buildings in the Shrine area, erection of Wire Mesh Fencing along the entire tracks and re-tiling of the worn out and vulnerable stretches for enabling the pilgrims to walk with greater comfort.
While reviewing the progress of the Emergency Helipad at Panchi and the Afforestation work which is being carried out in the Shrine area for the past nearly 4 years, the Governor referred to the continuing attention being given towards improving and conserving the environment by greening the Trikuta Hills through continuous plantation activities. The Shrine Board noted that more than 2.5 lakh saplings, including forest, horticulture, floriculture and ornamental species of plants, had been planted during the 2012-13 Winter and Summer plantation seasons. Further, a Nursery for raising 1 lakh saplings had also been established. The CEO informed that there was no forest fire incident during 2013, primarily on account of effective advance actions being taken towards creation of fire lines and strict vigil on the ground.
The Board reviewed progress made towards the execution of two Ropeway Projects after the de-notification of Trikuta Wildlife Sanctuary under the orders of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in March, 2013.
While reviewing the Board’s Social Responsibility Programme, CEO informed the Board about the initiative taken for providing financial assistance to various socio-cultural organizations, Baridar families residing in the area surrounding the Shrine and improvement of the infrastructure in various schools in the area around the Shrine. The Board noted with satisfaction initiative taken in 2012 for preserving and promoting local culture and traditional art forms of Music, Dance and Drama through “Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Natrang Young Artists Scholarship” and through the implementation of three projects, in collaboration with Dogri Sanstha, Jammu for the Translation of Dogri Literary woks into English and Hindi, Publication of Dogri Comic Booklets and Creation of a Dogri Website.
The Board noted the progress made towards the completion of Multi- purpose Sports Stadium at Katra. While advising the Chief Executive Officer to ensure time bound laying of turf on the ground and setting up of the water sprinkler systems, the Board approved the establishment of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Sports Council under the Chairmanship of Dr. Ashok Bhan, Member SMVDSB. This Council shall, interalia, include three prominent sports personalities of national and international standing.
The Board approved of the CEO’s recent initiative to introduce free online Yatra Registration and endorsed the proposal to establish a photograph based Access Control and Verification System for the Yatra. The latter is an extremely important step towards improvement of Yatra security. Under the proposed system every pilgrim visiting the Shrine would be photographed and his relevant data captured in the Board’s Data Bank. The proposed system, which would enable far better security and surveillance, has been tried and tested for queue management in Tirupathi Tirumala Devasthanams (TTD) and at the Shirdi Sai Sansthana.
The Board also approved the proposal to set up Electronic Data Capture (EDC) Terminals at identified transaction points in the Shrine area, on a pilot basis, and based on effectiveness, this system could be extended to all the transaction points with the objective of moving towards cashless transactions.
The Board approved various recommendations for improving the conditions of service of different categories of employees and the Gratuity limit being raised to Rs. 10 lakh with effect from May 2010.
The Board was informed that, at the Governor’s request, Shri Anil Goswami, Union Home Secretary, had last month taken a detailed review of the security of the Shrine and had issued necessary directions to the State Police and CRPF for the time bound completion of various security arrangements and providing necessary manpower and fund support for securing reliable security of the Yatra. The CEO was directed to arrange regular meetings of the Shrine Board Security Commission, which was approved to be constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Ashok Bhan, former DGP, for reviewing the implementation of the decisions taken and dealing with any new arising situation.
The meeting was attended by E. Sreedharan, Dr. S. S. Bloeria, Dr. Ashok Bhan, Prof. Ms. Sudha Murthi, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma and H. L. Maini, Board Members and Navin K. Choudhary, Chief Executive Officer and Dr. M. K. Bhandari, Additional Chief Executive Officer.
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