JAMMU: To add additional facilities for meeting the accommodation needs of the pilgrims who visit the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji, Governor Satya Pal Malik, Chairman of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, laid foundation stone for reconstruction of Durga Bhawan in the Bhawan area.
The Governor electronically laid the foundation and launched the work on this 5-storey building on the sidelines of the 64th meeting of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board held under his chairmanship at the Raj Bhavan here.
Among those present on the occasion were H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Dr. Ashok Bhan, Mr. K. B. Kachru, Mr. K. K. Sharma, Mr. Justice (Retd) Permod Kohli, Maj. Gen. (Retd) Shiv Kumar Sharma and Mr. Vijay Dhar, all Board Members; and Mr. BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Mr. Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to the Governor; Mr. Simrandeep Singh, Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board; Mr. Vivek Verma, Additional Chief Executive Officer; Mr. M. M. Gupta, Chief Engineer of the Shrine Board and Dr. (Brig) M. M. Harjai, Chief Administrative Officer, SMVDNSH, Kakryal.
The building with a plinth area of 14,800 sft and covered area of 60,000 sft is estimated to cost Rs. 50 crore and will provide free accommodation facilities to around 4000 pilgrims every day by maximising space utilisation which will significantly enlarge the logistical framework for the pilgrims in the Bhawan area. The new Durga Bhawan will have adequate facilities such as lockers, toilets, blankets, ready to eat snacks and beverages as well as provision of 4 elevators for vertical circulation. This building will be earthquake resistant. The top terrace of the building will be at the level of the existing track of Bhawan which will be covered with an aesthetically designed roof as an additional resting place. This building will be the largest of the existing buildings at Bhawan and will be almost twice the size of the old Durga Bhawan. The provision of separate exit track through this building has been kept as per approved Master Plan which will be further connected to elevators/escalators for the convenience of yatris.
The reconstruction of Durga Bhawan is part of the approved Master Plan of Bhawan area which has been got prepared by the Shrine Board for Bhawan and the Extended Shrine Area from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. The construction of Durga Bhawan happens to be one of the four works of Master Plan Phase-I for 2021. It is pertinent to mention that the Master Plan seeks to achieve target of ensuring maximum free of cost accommodation for yatris by 2031.
Speaking on the occasion, the Governor directed the CEO of the Shrine Board to ensure speedy completion of new Durga Bhawan so that the pilgrims start benefitting from this facility at the earliest. He also asked for ensuring timely implementation of the various components of the Master Plan for establishing infrastructural facilities for the visiting pilgrims in a planned and holistic manner. He further directed that the building should have adequate provision for harnessing clean energy, recycling of waste water, setting up of STPs etc.