Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday chaired the 71st meeting of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) in Reasi district, with the board according in-principle approval for setting up a medical college.
The meeting was attended by members of the board, the Lt Governor's Principal Secretary Mandeep Kumar Bhandari and SMVDSB Chief Executive Officer Anshul Garg, an official spokesman said.
He said the board accorded in-principle approval for the establishment of a 50-bed medical college at Kakryal at an approximate cost of Rs 350-450 crore.
"The board concurred with the projected need for expansion of the operational base of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital (SMVDNSH) to cater to a larger number of patients requiring specialized treatment. After extensive deliberations, the board accorded in-principle approval to addition of 200 to 220 beds to the existing capacity of the hospital at an approximate cost of Rs 120 crore," the spokesman said.
He said the board took note of reported position, held extensive deliberations, ratified and gave in-principle approvals to as many as 36 agenda items having varied implications for the functioning of board and augmenting of pilgrim services.
The board asked the SMVDSB CEO to strive for creating best of facilities in sync with the emerging requirements for making pilgrimage a memorable experience to the devotees, the spokesman said.
He said the board granted in-principle approval to 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.
Garg informed the board that the prestigious projects underway at Bhawan are being expedited and are likely to be completed prior to the "Shardiya Navratras", the spokesman said, adding he also apprised the board about various steps initiated for averting crisscross movement of pilgrims for a hassle-free "darshan".
The SMVDSB CEO was directed to expedite construction of Shankaracharya Temple along with the creation of track and allied facilities and emphasized the need to engage all stakeholders for satisfactory resolution of all pending issues in this regard, the spokesman said.
Garg informed the meeting about the action taken on several fronts such as employees' welfare, the amendment in administrative, financial and other powers to be exercised by various officers, the disaster management initiatives undertaken in the recent past and as to how these have helped in improving the employees' level of preparedness to face any disaster-like situation.
The board also approved the required grant-in-aid for the FY 2023-24 in favour of SMVD Charitable Society for strengthening the functioning of the board's peripheral institutions like Gurukul, hospital, sports complex and college of nursing, the spokesman said.
Addressing the meeting, the Lt Governor reiterated that the facilities for pilgrims are topmost priority of the board and all steps must be taken for their hassle-free pilgrimage.
He directed the board CEO to ensure online bookings for passenger ropeway for easy access and comfort of devotees.
The safety of passengers must be ensured, he added.
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