Minister of State for Education, Tourism and Culture Priya Sethi said that the government is working with the vision to develop J&K as a religious tourism destination and in this regard synergised efforts by all stakeholders are required to ensure the development of various religious places and shrines.
The Minister said that with the development of shrines like Shiv Khori and Peer Kho, not only devotes but more tourists will be attracted which will ultimately give a boost to the religious tourism in the region.
The Minister stated this during a high level meeting convened to review the arrangements for forthcoming Maha Shivratri festival to be observed at holy shrines of Shiv Khori and Peer Kho here on Saturday evening.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Hemant Kumar Sharma , Deputy Commissioner , Jammu, Kumar Rajeev Ranjan, IGP Jammu, Dr S D Singh, Commissioner, JMC, Ramesh Kumar, Director, Health Services, Dr Gurjeet Singh, SSP Reasi, Tahir Sajad Bhat, Joint Director Tourism, Shokat Mahmood Malik , CMO Jammu, Dr Sanjay Turki, Dy SP, Hqts, Raj Paul Singh, Dy SP Traffic, Daljeet Singh, , ACR, Reasi, Harbans Lal Sharma, Dy Director, ULB, Harmeet Singh, besides SE Hyd, Ashwani k Anand, SE PHE Jammu, Ajay Singh Wazir, XEN, PHE Reasi, PP Arora, XEN PHE, Jammu, Hamesh Manchanda, Tehsildar Pouni, Rajesh Baru, AEEs, Ratnesh Puri, Rajesh Sharma, Executive Officer, Shri Shiv Khori Shrine Board (SSKSB) Om Parkash, Mahant , Pir Shiv Nath , Shashi Khajuri and senior functionaries of concerned departments attended the meeting.
During the meeting, the Minister assessed the preparedness on the account of Tourism, Police, Traffic, JMC, PHE ,Health and other concerned departments in view of the festival and directed the concerned officers to put in a synergize efforts to ensure smooth festivities on this devout occasion.
She directed the concerned officers to ensure all the requisite facilities to the devotees coming to pay their obeisance at Shiv Khori and Peer Kho shrines.
Laying special focus on security and traffic arrangements, the Minister asked the concerned departments to deploy adequate man power and stressed on effective management along with regular transportation between the designated parking areas to the shrines to ensure safe and hassle free pilgrimage.
Taking strong note of wrongly parked vehicles around the shrines, the Minister instructed the concerned for taking swift action in this regard. She further asked to identify more parking spots near shrines for smooth traffic movement during the festival.
She directed for appropriate arrangements for the comfort of old and disabled devotes travelling to the shrines.
Priya asked the Tourism department to extensively promote and publicize the arrangements being made for the festival to attract more pilgrims. She directed JMC officers to ensure cleanliness in and around the shrines, renovate viewpoints besides other infrastructure.
The Minister directed the district administration to put in place a proper mechanism for landslide prevention and safety measures. She also asked the concerned officers to identify the halting points and directed to build shelters as a protection from rain and shooting stones.
The Minister also asked the senior functionaries of the concerned departments to personally visit the shrines and entrusted the officers to take necessary steps to ensure proper management.
The Minister passed the instructions for beautification and illumination of Ranbireshwar Temple, Aap Shambhu Temple, Shiv Mandir, Shallamar, and other temples of Deity Shiva for Maha Shivratri and directed to make proper arrangements for the devotees visiting these temples.
In the meeting, a threadbare discussion was held on sanitation, Medicare, besides ensuring uninterrupted water and electricity supply, improved road connectivity and proper illumination at the shrines.
With regards to Peer Kho festival, the Minister appointed ADC Jammu as nodal officer for the event and asked him to ensure proper execution of directions for successful celebrations. She further instructed for making a control room which will served as a helpline and will also monitor the arrangements.
The Minister asked the board and the management of the shrines to ensure close coordination with the administration and asked them to explore several avenues to showcase the ethnic food, cultural of state besides organizing leisure activities including funfair rides, dangals to attract more participation.
The Minister also instructed for diversion of Tawi river water towards the Peer Kho Ghat during the festival.
Priya directed the health department to provide well equipped ambulances to accompany the procession. The Minister asked all the concerned departments to ensure proper execution of directions passed in the meeting.