Vaishno Devi Board Offers Free Insurance Cover To Pilgrims

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SRINAGAR: In its latest board meeting, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board took a series of decisions including increasing the insurance cover of the pilgrims and setting up additional medical facilities. Governor Satya Pal Malik, presided over the meeting, an official spokesman said.

Insurance For Pilgrims

The Board approved enhancement of Group Accidental Insurance cover for the pilgrims. The accidental cover extended to each pilgrim free of cost shall now be Rs 5 lakh instead of existing Rs 3 lakh for the pilgrims aged 5 years and above and Rs 3 lakh for the pilgrims below 5 years of age up from Rs 1 lakh at present.

Governor Satya Pal Malik presiding over the Board meeting of Shri Vaishno Devi Board on October 13, 2018 in Srinagar. Pic: DIPR

The Board also approved additional life insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to the pilgrims who will avail the service of the upcoming Passenger Ropeway between Bhawan and Bhairon Ghati. This cover shall be in addition to the accidental cover available to each yatri once he/she collects the yatra slip and commences the journey.

It is pertinent to mention that premium on providing insurance cover to the pilgrims is borne by the Board and the insurance cover has been upgraded after a gap of 8 years.

Free Accommodation By 2031

The Governor reviewed the implementation of the Master Plan for Bhawan and the Extended Shrine Area prepared by the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, to be executed in phases. He directed the CEO of the Board to ensure 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 also emphasized on expeditious planning and construction of New Durga Bhawan for providing on-floor free of cost accommodation facilities for pilgrims by maximizing the utilization of space. The Master Plan seeks to ensure that by 2031, 90% of the total accommodation in the Bhawan area comprises free of cost on-floor accommodation for the Yatris.

The Governor while reviewing the status of installation of Passenger Ropeway between Bhawan and Bhairon Ghati, asked the CEO to ensure its early commissioning for facilitation of the pilgrims after completion of trial runs. This Ropeway has a carrying capacity of 800 passengers per hour and shall reduce the travel time of the one-way journey on foot to Bhairon Temple, from one hour to less than three minutes. The Board has decided to charge a highly subsidized to and fro ticket of Rs 100 per passenger to enable a maximum number of pilgrims to avail this facility.

Nursing College

The meeting also took stock of the construction of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Nursing College Complex coming up at Kakryal and emphasized the need for timely completion of its hostels, staff and academic buildings.

Vaishno Devi Shrine Katra

The meeting reviewed the functioning of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Kakryal and expressed satisfaction on its performance. The Board in a historic decision approved a Medical Support Policy for the treatment of victims of public trauma under its social support initiative at the Super-speciality Hospital. The beneficiaries in this policy will include public trauma victims of road accidents, landslides or shooting stone incidents and such calamities from the surrounding areas of the Shrine referred to the hospital by the concerned Deputy Commissioners to provide emergency medical aid. Medical assistance shall be provided in all such cases by the Shrine Board until the stabilization of the patient up to a ceiling of Rs 2 lakh as a goodwill gesture for such critical cases.

New Public Address System

For facilitating on-foot pilgrims who use the scenic Tarakote Marg for their journey to the Cave Shrine, the Board approved the installation of a hi-tech Multipurpose Audio System on this track from Katra to Adhkuwari. This Audio System will be installed through M/s BOSE Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. at an estimated cost of Rs 4.66 crore, which will include operational and maintenance cost for 5 years. Besides 15 booths, 550 speakers will be installed along the Tarakote Marg for the facilitation of pilgrims.

It will play devotional music and spiritual songs which have been specially composed under the guidance of Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma, Santoor maestro (and Member Shrine Board). The music comprises Chants, Mantras, Stotras, Bhaints and devotional music in Dogri language. The audio system will also ensure a reliable and real-time dissemination of informative advisories and announcements, besides enhancing the ambience for pilgrims moving on the tracks through the playing of devotional music.

The Governor directed CEO and other Board officers for making maximum use of technological interventions in the interest of pilgrims and, side by side, promote conservation of the environment and ensure the upkeep of sanitation and hygiene in the Shrine area.

Earlier, the CEO gave a detailed presentation on the to-date status of varied activities of the Shrine Board and the action taken as regards the implementation of various decisions of the previous meetings of the Board.

Upgraded Medical Facilities

To further augment and upgrade the medical facilities for the pilgrims en route Katra to Bhawan, the Board decided to establish a new fully equipped and staffed Medical Unit at Lambi Keri to cater to the medical exigencies in the Adhkuwari-Sanjichhat sector taking the total number of Medical Units to eight on all the tracks. The Board also decided to create a new Medical Unit at Bhairon Temple at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore keeping in view the futuristic requirements.

Aesthetically designed modular Shelter Shed on the Tarakote Marg.

Further, the skills of medical officers will be upgraded by organizing training programmes on Advanced Trauma Life Support for handling cardiac emergencies and trauma cases. A roster for regular training of the para-medical staff including Medical Assistants and Nursing Orderlies has also been formulated in consultation with experts from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital especially to strengthen the emergency medical response on the track.

The Board decided to procure two more fully equipped Critical Care Ambulances for emergency evacuation of critical patients to the CHC Katra or the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super-speciality Hospital, Kakryal for treatment. Besides, heli-evacuation of critical cardiac and other seriously ailing patients from Sanjichhat and Panchhi Helipads to the Helipad at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University for specialised medical care at the Super-speciality Hospital, Kakryal quickly on the Board’s expenses was also approved. This significant decision could help in saving precious lives by drastically reducing response time in the golden hour, especially for cardiac cases and other critical patients.

The meeting was attended by Dr S. S. Bloeria, Dr Ashok Bhan, H. L. Maini, Justice (Retd) Pramod Kohli, Maj. Gen. (Retd) Shiv Kumar Sharma and B. B. Vyas, all Board Members; and B V R Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to the Governor, Dheeraj Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board, Simrandeep Singh, designate Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board, Dr M. K. Kumar and Mr Anshul Garg, Additional Chief Executive Officers.

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