Speaking on the UT government’s future deliverables for promoting religious tourism in Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that the government is looking forward to organizing a 3-month long festival to popularize various tourist destinations.”
“We are looking forward to organising a 3-month long festival in Jammu to popularize various tourist destinations”, said the Lt Governor after laying the foundation for the Durga Bhawan at Katra, a high utility pilgrim-centric facility worth Rs 24.4 cr to facilitate pilgrims of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine.
The Lieutenant Governor said that the government is planning to develop a pilgrimage tourism circuit connecting Mata Vaishno Devi, Purmandal- Utterbehni, Mansar-Surinsar and Shiv Khori together, besides promoting the unexplored tourism potential of Jammu to attract more tourists.
The Lt Governor also attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the new facility.
The Lt Governor, who is also the Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has been laying high priority to enhancing facilities for the convenience of the pilgrims. On completion, the facility will accommodate 4000 pilgrims.
While directing the CEO SMVDSB and the executing agency for speedy execution of work, the Lt Governor fixed August 18, 2022 as the timeline for the completion of the new Durga Bhawan. He further directed for timely mobilization of required manpower to complete the project in a record period of 12 months.
“I express my gratitude to the devotees who have stepped forward and contributed to this noble cause. About Rs 6.83 cr has already been received as donation and more than Rs one crore will be received in the next two months”, said the Lt Governor.
Recalling the meeting held in the month of March, the Lt Governor observed that specific directions were passed to the concerned agencies to aesthetically design the building, besides providing maximum convenience to the devotees
In the last one year, many interventions like postal delivery of prasad, mobile app for live darshans, online registration system etc have been made to facilitate the devotees, he added. Adding to the efforts aimed at accentuating additional facilities catering to the needs of the pilgrims, the 5-storey Durga Bhawan will have all requisite amenities, besides having adequate provision for harnessing clean energy, recycling of wastewater linking up with existing STPs, provision of elevators etc, the Lt Governor said.
He further appreciated the efforts made by all those associated with the management of the pilgrimage for the smooth conduct of the yatra in adherence to all COVID protocols.
JSW Foundation has already conducted a study for conservation and restoration of Shiv Khori heritage site in Reasi. Jammu ropeway has connected three major temples of Jammu city viz. Peerkho, Mahamaya temple and Bahu temple, and has become a major tourist attraction in the region, said the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor also expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for including rejuvenation of the Purmandal and Utterbehni of Jammu under PRASAD scheme.
Chief Executive Officer, SMVDSB, Ramesh Kumar, briefed the Lt Governor about the pace of implementation of this prestigious project.
Construction of Durga Bhawan is part of the approved master plan of the Bhawan area, prepared by the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.
The master plan seeks to achieve the target of ensuring maximum accommodation for pilgrims by 2031.
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) have already inked a memorandum of understanding for the construction of Durga Bhawan, as approved in the 65th meeting of SMVDSB, it was informed.