President visits Vaishno Devi shrine


Jammu, President Ram Nath Kovind, on Thursday, paid obeisance at the Vaishno Devi Shrine here situated at the Trikuta Hills in Katra.The official spokesman said that Kovind prayed for the progress and prosperity of the people of the country.

The President was accompanied by Savita Kovind, First Lady; Governor N. N. Vohra; and Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh, Deputy Chief Minister.

During his brief visit, the President went around the Shrine complex, viewed the facilities and met the pilgrims.

Governor, who is Chairman Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, briefed the President about the continuing initiatives being taken for upgrading and expanding the infrastructure for facilitating the progressively increasing number of pilgrims to the Holy Shrine.

He observed that a Master Plan has been got prepared for the Bhawan and the extended Shrine Area to provide planned accommodation for pilgrims at Bhawan, Adhkuwari, Katra and Jammu and Durga Bhawan is being re-constructed to enhance accommodation facilities for pilgrims at Bhawan. Water supply is being augmented and all the lights along the tracks and in the Bhawan area have been replaced with LED lights; Health Care facilities for the pilgrims have been strengthened along the tracks and at Bhawan. Giving details about the various social support initiatives taken by the Board, especially in the education and health sectors, Governor referred to the establishment of Superspeciality Hospital, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University and College of Nursing at Kakryal and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Gurukul at Charanpaduka, involving an investment of nearly Rs. 1000 crores.

Regarding the upcoming major infrastructure projects, the Governor informed the President that Passenger Ropeway between Bhawan and Bhairon Ghati and Material Ropeway between Siar Dabri and Bhawan are nearing completion. He also informed the President about the ongoing Slope Stabilisation Project and installation of Shelter Sheds for ensuring the safety of the pilgrims against shooting stones and landslides and, besides, the upcoming Tarakote Marg which will cost about Rs 80 crore.

Governor observed that, under his direction, focus on environmental preservation continued to be accorded very high priority and, towards the furtherance of this objective, plantation of Trikuta Hills has been undertaken on a very large scale and green technologies are being utilised.

Earlier, on arrival at the Panchhi Helipad from Jammu, the President was received by Umang Narula, CEO of the Shrine Board.

Abdul Gani Mir, ADGP, CID; Hemant Kumar Sharma, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu; Prasanna Ramaswamy G, Deputy Commissioner, Reasi; Anshul Garg, Additional CEO of the Shrine Board; and other senior Civil, Police and Shrine Board officers were present on the occasion.