• Inaugurates, lays foundation stone of various projects of Shrine Board, Gurukul
• Announces Hardship Allowance for 1450 employees of SMVDSB
• Rolls out RFID system for pilgrims to ensure better crowd management for convenience of devotees
Katra, Aug 31: Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha on Wednesday said that the Jammu and Kashmir Government is working on the development and the promotion of spiritual tourism circuit in the Union Territory.
He made these remarks while attending the celebration of 37th Foundation day of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) and 12th Annual day of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi (SMVD) Gurukul, Charan Paduka, Katra Wednesday at the Matrika Auditorium of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi university.
Enlisting a host of new initiatives taken for ensuring that pilgrims from all over the world get state-of-the-art facilities and further strengthening the linkage between the local economy and pilgrimage, the Lt Governor said, “The government is working on development and promotion of spiritual tourism circuit.
“Efforts are being made for conservation and revitalization of spiritual cultural heritage and to bring prominent spiritual and religious places like Purmandal-Utterbehni, Mansar-Surinsar and Shiv Khori on the religious tourism circuit of the country which will also generate livelihood opportunities for the locals, the Lt Governor said.
Addressing the gathering, the LG said that as many as 18 projects for conservation of places with spiritual cultural importance have been started in Jammu, Kathua, Ramban, Reasi, Samba, Udhampur which were neglected for years. “After waiting for seven decades, all these sites will be restored and the surrounding infrastructure will also be developed and comprehensive and holistic development of the entire area will be ensured,” the LG said.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor laid the foundation stone of various projects of Shrine Board and Gurukul, including a new hostel for the expansion of Gurukul and accommodation facilities for Shrine Board’s employees at Ardhkuwari and Banganga.
Taking another significant welfare step for the employees of the Shrine Board, the Lt Governor announced hardship allowance for 1450 SMVDSB employees posted at higher altitude.
Sinha also rolled out a new RFID system for the convenience of the passengers. The system will ensure seamless access control with minimal hassle to devotees. For better crowd management and tracking of the Yatries, 29 counters and control rooms have been set up in Katra and verification counters have been set up at 7 locations on the track.
It was further informed that the work on Spiritual Theme Park will commence before the auspicious occasion of Navratras.
The Lt Governor congratulated all the Members, stakeholders and everyone associated with the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Gurukul for the Foundation Day.
Observing that Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Gurukul is the center of knowledge and wisdom, the Lt Governor said that the Gurukul is a perfect medium to develop the future leaders who will be well accustomed with the modern, traditional, and spiritual education.
From the last 12 years the Gurukul is paving the way for the strong spiritual-cultural foundation of J&K. The affiliation of Gurukul with Central Sanskrit University, New Delhi is an important step towards revival of Sanskrit in J&K and connecting students with science and spirituality, he added.
At Gurukul, we must encourage original ideas among the students and nurture their minds so that they can learn higher values of life and dedicate themselves towards nation building. It should be our endeavor that necessary changes should be made in the syllabus as per the National Education Policy, the Lt Governor urged the stakeholders.
In the last two years, we have tried to reshape the education system in J&K according to the National Education Policy. Work has been done to develop all the institutions from school to university level as centers of change in consciousness. Today our youth are giving priority to service to society along with personal aspiration and that is a notable transformation after a long time, the Lt Governor said.
We have launched several important initiatives in the last two years, including the flagship program ‘Student- Teacher Mentorship’ which is a revolutionary step towards enhancing learning outcomes by identifying the learning gaps. In Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Gurukul also, the teachers will get an opportunity to radically change their teaching method by assessing the needs, capability and interests of the students. It will also lead to commensurate changes to the syllabus to inculcate ideas based on future requirements, he added.
The Lt Governor appreciated the efforts of the management for affiliation with the Central Sanskrit University and expansion of the Gurukul as far as Student intake is concerned.
The Lt Governor also highlighted the measures undertaken to cater to the needs of 8-9 lakh devotees visiting Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine every month.
On this occasion, we must also remember the key role of Shri Jagmohan ji, former Governor of erstwhile J&K in the constitution of SMVD Shrine Board, said the Lt Governor.
Keeping in view the heavy rush of devotees, we are constantly improving the facilities to make their pilgrimage hassle-free. In the last two years, new projects have been sanctioned for better facilities and resources and important steps have also been taken for crowd management at the holy shrine. The work on Sky Walk will be completed by December, the Lt Governor said.
MoU between National Highway Logistics Management Limited (NHLML) and Katra Development Authority that was inked on 30th August 2022 will create one of its kind intermodal stations for the devotees bringing services like helipad, railway station, bus stand, auto stand, parking, five star hotels, and other modern day facilities at one place, he added.
Mahamandleshwar Shri Swami Vishveshvaranand Giriji Maharaj, Member of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and Chairman of the Governing Council observed that during a short span of 12 years since its establishment in 2010, the Gurukul has earned a name in imparting quality education in Sanskrit and other subjects and exuded confidence that very soon it will emerge as a center of excellence.
dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, in his remarks acknowledging the unparalleled emotional connect with the Shrine lauded the achievements achieved so far and emphasized for the pleasant and hassle free experience of the visiting pilgrims.
Anshul Garg, Chief Executive Officer, SMVDSB, in his welcome address highlighted the initiatives taken under the guidance of Lieutenant Governor for facilitation of pilgrims initiated in a very short period by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board like Mobile App, Home Delivery of Pooja Prasad / Panch Mewa Prasad, round the clock Call Center for facilitation of yatris, installation of Hi-tech Video Walls, construction of Durga Bhawan, e-library, Yatri Queue Management (Sky walk), Underground Cabling Project and RFID Project.
He also thanked the Chief Secretary for extending full support to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board as and when required. He also briefed the gathering on the efforts being made for continuing improvements in the functioning of Gurukul.
dr. Dhananjay Mishra, Principal of the Gurukul, presented the Annual Report of the institution while students of the Gurukul staged an impressive Sanskrit play “Bharat Vijayam”, which was highly appreciated by the audience.
The Lt Governor congratulated the meritorious students who have excelled in academics and various other extra-curricular activities during the past one year.
He released a book “Gurukulodayam” tracing the foundation and evolution of Gurukulan institute of Sanskrit Learning. He also inaugurated a Photo exhibition capturing Pilgrim Centric services and social support interventions of the Shrine Board since 1986.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor also laid e-foundation of New Dinning cum Accommodation Complex at SMVD Gurukul and Nature Interpretation Center & Seed Bank at Kunia Nursery, Panthal.
An impressive presentation of Bhagawati Stuti, Bhajan, culture program by the students were among the main highlights of the event.
Members of the Shrine Board:- Baleshwar Rai; Dr Ashok Bhan, Dr. Neelam Sareen, Suresh Kumar Sharma, Raghu K. Mehta; Prof. dr. Shrinivasa Varakhedi, Vice-Chancellor, Central Sanskrit University Delhi; Prof. dr. (Dr.) Ravindra Kumar Sinha, VC SMVDU; dr. Sanjeev Jain, VC Central University Jammu were present on the occasion.
Padma Shri Vishwamurti Shastri, Director SMVD Gurukul; Mukesh Singh, ADGP Jammu; Ramesh Kumar, Divisional Commissioner Jammu; Ms Babila Rakwal, Deputy Commissioner Reasi, besides students, faculty member and prominent citizens also attended the function to celebrate the foundation day of Shrine Board and Annual day of SMVD Gurukul.