Vaishnodevi to have new helipad to meet rush

Jammu: Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board (SMVSB) will set up a new helipad for ferrying pilgrims to the famous cave shrine in Jammu district.

A new helipad is being built by the Board in Katra to cater to the needs of increasing number of pilgrims flying every day to the cave shrine, 61 km from here, SMVSB officials said today.

The holy cave shrine is perched at a height of 5,200 feet above the sea level in the Trikuta Hills of the Shivalik Range, and nearly 88 lakh pilgrims have visited it so far this year, surpassing all previous records.

Governor N N Vohra, who is chairman of SMVSB, and senior officials visited the proposed location for development of a new helipad to shift operations from the present site.

The Governor, while inspecting the proposed helipad site on the Katra-Reasi road, stressed the need for ensuring that all required facilities were provided, like parking place, food courts and medical aid, besides drinking water and toilet units.

He also reviewed the progress of ongoing work on the Dedicated Mule Track from Katra to Adhkwari and asked the CEO to draw up a time-bound Action Plan to ensure the timely completion of the Mule Track.

Meanwhile, a state-of-the-art Spiritual Growth Centre will be thrown open to pilgrims on November 26 at the cave shrine.

The Centre will have a Library Hall, Souvenir Shop, Auditorium, Exhibition Hall, Conference Hall, Training and Development Section, besides Meditation and Prayer Halls.

The Governor also reviewed the progress of the upcoming Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Institute of Medical Excellence at Kakriyal, Katra.