Additional infrastructure coming up at Vaishno Devi Bhawan: Shrine Board

Radio frequency identity cards in offing for Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims

JAMMU: With the aim to provide better facilities and to cater the rush of pilgrims, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board is raising an additional infrastructure to accommodate 1600 to 1700 pilgrims at the Bhawan situated in Trikuta Hills of Katra town in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, it was reported on Wednesday.
The upcoming infrastructure having dormitories is expected to be completed by Navaratras in the month of October this year.
The new infrastructure of dormitories is coming up at Durga Bhawan, which is being upgraded with additional facilities, Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board told UNI.
The CEO revealed that once completed, the infrastructure will be capable of accommodating 1600 to 1700 devotees.
With the construction of this complex, the facility for the stay of the devotees will be more than doubled. We have set a target of completing the infrastructure before Navratras which fall in October, said the CEO.
Apart from Gauri Bhawan, Vaishnavi Bhawan and Manokamna Bhawan, Kalika Bhavan has an online booking facility for the stay of the devotees.
Often rooms are not available as they get booked online, so the pilgrims arriving at Bhawan can avail the facility of dormitory, said an official.
Before the Corona pandemic, on an average 80 to 90 lakh devotees visited the cave shrine every year but in 2020 and 2021, the yatra witnessed a dip and only 17 lakhs and 53 lakhs pilgrims respectively reached the Bhawan.
Meanwhile, on the opening of an old natural cave on Makar Sankranti, the CEO said, We are monitoring the Covid situation and the final decision in this regard will be taken after a complete review.
On the night of December 31-January 1, 12 pilgrims died and 16 injured in a stampede at the Bhawan due to heavy rush.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who is also the Chairman of the Shrine Board has framed a high level committee headed by Principal Secretary (Home) Shaleen Kabra, with Divisional Commissioner Jammu Raghav Langar and Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Singh as its members to probe the cause of the stampede.