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Vaishno Devi Trust Establishing 50-Seat New Medical College

SRINAGAR: Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has given preliminary approval for the establishment of a 50-seat new Medical College at Kakryal at an approximate cost of Rs 350-450 crore. He heads the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

The Board agreed with the projected need for expansion of the operational base of SMVDNSH (Hospital of the Board) to serve a larger number of patients requiring specialized treatment. After extensive discussions, the Board gave preliminary approval to add 200 to 220 beds to the existing capacity of the Hospital at an approximate cost of Rs 120 crore.

The Board noted the reported position, held extensive discussions, ratified, and gave preliminary approvals to a total of 36 agenda items with various implications for the functioning of the Board and the enhancement of pilgrim services.

In addition, the Board urged the CEO SMVDSB to strive for the creation of the best facilities in line with the emerging requirements, to make the pilgrimage a memorable experience. Accordingly, the Board granted preliminary approval for the construction of a new Yatri-cum-Staff accommodation at Bhawan at an approximate cost of Rs 31.51 crore.

The meeting also reviewed the progress of various pilgrim-centric mega infrastructure projects such as Skywalk, retrofitting and remodeling of Parvati Bhawan, and expansion of Atka area.

The CEO, SMVDSB informed the Board that the prestigious projects underway at Bhawan are being expedited and are likely to be completed before the Shardiya Navratras. He also briefed the Board about the various steps taken to avoid the crisscross movement of pilgrims for a hassle-free Darshan experience.

The CEO Shrine Board was instructed to expedite the construction/redevelopment of Shankaracharya Temple along with the creation of track and associated facilities. The need to engage all stakeholders for a satisfactory resolution of all pending issues in this regard was emphasized.

The CEO briefed the chair on the actions taken on several fronts such as employee welfare (including restructuring of various cadres, establishment of an Award Scheme to recognize outstanding performers, etc.), amendments in Administrative, Financial, and other powers exercised by various officers, and disaster management initiatives undertaken in the recent past. It was highlighted how these initiatives have helped improve the employees’ level of preparedness to face any disaster-like situation.

The Board also approved the necessary Grant-in-Aid for FY 2023-24 in favor of SMVD Charitable Society to strengthen the functioning of the Board’s peripheral institutions like Gurukul, Hospital, Sports Complex, and College of Nursing (managed under the SMVD Society).

The Lt Governor reiterated that the facilities for pilgrims are the topmost priority of the Board and all necessary steps must be taken to ensure their hassle-free pilgrimage.

He directed the CEO Shrine Board to ensure online bookings for the passenger ropeway for easy access and comfort of devotees. The safety of passengers must be ensured, he added.

On the sidelines of the meeting, the Lt Governor laid the e-foundation stones for Cottages and a mess Block near SMVD Sports Complex Katra for the devotees and Staff accommodation at Banganga to be developed at a cost of Rs 14 crore.

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