Governor For Preparing 40-50 Year Master Plan For Entire Shrine Area

NEW DELHI, July 29 : The 58th meeting of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was held at India International Centre here yesterday under the chairmanship of Governor N. N. Vohra, who is Chairman of the Shrine Board.

The Board took a number of decisions of far reaching consequence for augmenting the facilities for the pilgrims to see that the progressively increasing number of pilgrims visiting the Shrine are provided the best possible arrangements.

Dr. E. Sreedharan, Dr. S. S. Bloeria, Mrs. Sudha Murty, Dr. Ashok Bhan, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Mr. H. L. Maini, Mr. Justice (Retd) Permod Kohli and Maj. Gen. (Retd) Shiv Kumar Sharma, all Board Members; and Mr. Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Piyush Singla and Dr. M. K. Kumar, Additional CEOs of the Shrine Board attended the meeting. Shri B. B. Vyas, IAS, Member of Governing Body and Chairman Finance and Audit Committee of the Superspeciality Hospital, Kakryal, participated in the discussions as a Special Invitee.

Presentations were made to the Board by experts of two national institutions regarding the approaches which may be followed for preparing a comprehensive Master Plan for the entire Shrine area from Banganga to Bhawan and along all the tracks.

Pointing to certain difficulties in regard to traffic flows which had arisen due to lack of a holistic approach in the past years, the Governor stressed the crucial need for preparing a 40-50 year Master Plan for the entire Shrine area so that an adequately long-term perspective determines the scale and capacity of the infrastructural facilities which need to be provided for the pilgrims. He observed that a well planned approach in dealing with all aspects of the Yatra has also become extremely important to preserve the environment and ensure against any kind of pollution.

Governor observed that the maximum possible use of modern technologies would need to be made for planning improved facilities for the pilgrims, with particular attention being devoted to issues relating to ensuring effective garbage collection and sanitary arrangements. Attention also requires to be devoted to the collection and treatment of mule dung and waste water, besides sewage treatment. He also stressed the importance of ensuring effective maintenance of toilets and bathing facilities and continuing upgradation of existing amenities to meet the arising requirements of the pilgrimage.

The Board had an extensive discussion with the team of experts of the School of Planning and Architecture regarding the areas requiring particular attention in the preparation of the Master Plan for the entire Shrine area.  The Board directed the CEO to take all required action to ensure collection of garbage and prepare a well considered plan for management of solid and liquid wastes, with particular regard to utilization of green technologies to the maximum extent possible.

The Shrine Board also reviewed the Rs. 77 crore Slope Stabilisation Project, which is being executed to protect, treat and stabilise 33 sites on the Trikuta Mountains which have been identified as the most vulnerable from the point of view of landslides and stones falling on the tracks. This Project is being executed with the technical support of Tehri Hydro Development Corporation of India Ltd. to ensure against falling stones and landslides on the tracks, which have been causing injuries and deaths of pilgrims in the past years, and to enhance the safety and security of the pilgrims. The Board approved the commencement of Phase-II of this Project which will involve slope stabilisation measures such as installation of Rockfall Barriers, High Tensile Steel Wire Mesh, Shotcrete, Consolidation Grouting etc at an estimated cost of Rs 16.50 crores.

The Board also reviewed the implementation of the Rs. 60 crore Bhawan-Bhairon Ghati Passenger Ropeway and the Rs. 12 crore Siar Dabri-Bhawan Material Ropeway Projects which are scheduled to be commissioned early next year. After discussion the CEO was directed to ensure timely completion of both the Ropeway Projects and to establish all the required infrastructure facilities at Siar Dabri, Bhawan and Bhairon Ghati within the stipulated timelines. Governor stressed that while planning such logistics it must be ensured that the load on the hills, particularly on the Bhairon Ghati, is reduced to the minimum possible to preserve the ecology of the Shrine area. In this context, the Board had a detailed discussion on issues related to the infrastructural requirements of the pilgrimage and the approaches which may be adopted for facilitating speedy entry into and exit from the Shrine area of the increasing number of pilgrims and, at the same time, ensuring maximum possible utilization of appropriate technological options to reduce the load on the hill slopes.

While reviewing the functioning of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Kakryal, the Board called upon Dr. Bloeria, Chairman Governing Body of the Hospital to take the required steps for the very early expansion and upgrading of the treatment facilities at this Superspeciality Hospital to ensure best possible patient care, particularly the  early appointment of eminent Physicians and Surgeons to fill all existing vacancies. CEO informed that the Shrine Board had, since 8 April 2016, borne an expenditure of about one crore rupees on providing free and subsidised treatment at the Superspeciality Hospital, Kakryal, to the various categories of entitled beneficiaries who include pilgrims; residents of Sira, Kotla, Kakryal and Sool villages; land owners whose land was acquired for the establishment of Superspeciality Hospital and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University; employees of the Shrine Board and their dependents; and the students of the Gurukul and College of Nursing.

Regarding the functioning of the recently established Shri Mata Vaishno Devi College of Nursing at Kakryal, CEO informed the Board that 60 meritorious girls have been selected on merit basis for the 4 year B. Sc. Nursing programme and classes of the first batch of students commenced on  25th July. The Nursing College has a highly qualified faculty and is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure like hi-tech smart classrooms, most modern labs and a well-stocked library with the facility of on-line journals and besides a well-furnished hostel and facilities for hygienic food.

The Board discussed and took the required decisions for the  construction of an independent  building complex of the College of Nursing and directed the CEO to ensure its completion within the fixed timeline.

The meeting also approved the Annual Greening Plan of the Board for 2016-17 with an outlay of over Rs. 169 lakh under which varied activities will be carried out, including afforestation, establishment of a herbal garden at Adhkuwari, landscaping and beautification of Tarakote pedestrian track, creation of water ponds in the forest area, taking up soil moisture conservation works, putting in place a comprehensive forest fire management plan, organising awareness camps and strengthening of a communication and surveillance system etc.

The Board also took several decisions regarding welfare of the Board’s employees which included enhancing the retirement age from 58 years to 60 years and enhancement of maternity leave for its female employees from 90 days to 180 days.

Before the commencement of discussions CEO gave a detailed presentation on the to-date status of varied activities of the Shrine Board and the action taken on the implementation of various decisions of the previous meetings of the Board.    



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