Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Jammu attracts crores of pilgrims every year. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has been constituted to look after the needs of the devotees. The Board has taken various measures to discharge its duties towards the society at large. Formation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU) is a very important step. It has been established under Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University Act, 1999 as residential and a highly technical university to offer scientific and technical education of highest standards.
The SMVDU is situated 38 km north of Jammu in the scenic surroundings of Trikuta foothills, near the holy town of Katra in Udhampur district. The campus is situated in Kakrial, close to the beautiful tourist resort of Jhajjar-Kotli. Christened on the name of the holy divine and established with a vision to nurture young talented human resource for the service of Indian society and world at large preserving the integrity and sanctity of human values, the university was inaugurated by the former President of India Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam on August 19, 2004.
Based on the successful and tested pattern of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, the SMVDU is providing science and management based engineering education of the highest quality in subjects of contemporary importance. The university is presently offering under graduate courses in Electronics and Communication Engineering, Computer Sciences and Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology, Mechanical Engineering, Architecture and Post Graduate courses in Business, Economics, Energy Management and Mathematics besides Ph.D. It is a microcosm of the Indian nation, drawing students from every nook and corner of the country. Admissions to the University are through All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and MAT (Management Aptitude Test).
700-bed hospital at Vaishno Devi
The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board is in the process of setting up a medical institute at Kakrial near the holy township of Katra, about 50 km north of winter capital Jammu. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 250 crore. J&K Governor Lt. Gen (Retd) S.K. Sinha laid the foundation stone for the institute, which will be called Shri Mata Vaishno Devi institute of Medical Excellence. The first phase of the institute is likely to be completed by end of this year.
The medical institute will come up in three phases on 45 acres of land. It will be a multi-speciality hospital, which Jammu lacks at present, and will cater mainly to treatment of cancer. The institute will have 700 beds (200 beds in phase-I and 500 beds in phase-II). Phase-I, costing around Rs 42 crore, is expected to get complete in 18 months from the date of commencement of work. Phase-II will have multi-specialty faculties and a school for nursing and paramedics. The cost of this phase is not decided.
In phase-III, the institute will be upgraded to a medical college and a college for research and academic excellence with graduate and postgraduate disciplines, affiliated to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University. ?Besides offering the most modern allopathic treatment, the hospital will make efforts to educate the general public about the causes of cancer.
The institute would cater to the needs of Jammu and Kashmir and adjoining regions and provide services at par with global standards. The facility will be first of its kind in northern India, aimed at providing specialised health cover to the people especially the poor and needy patients,? said Lt. General (Retd.) L.P. Sadhotra, Director of the institute adding that our approach is purely holistic.
Facilities provided to the pilgrims
The Shrine Board has been in service of the pilgrims visiting the holy Shrine of Vaishnodevi for almost two decades. Working day and night it has facilitated crores of pilgrims in their pilgrimage. Over the years huge infrastructure has been put in place for the facilitation of the yatris en route and at locations like Adkhkuwari, Bhawan, Sanjichatt, Bhairon. Today, the Board maintains about 250 toilet blocks and more than a thousand employees are deployed for round the clock sanitation facility. There are about 250 drinking water points providing clean drinking water to the pilgrims. Twenty two kms of pacca track is maintained with more than four lakh sq.ft. shelter space more than 2,000 street lights and more than 1,000 resting benches on the track. Besides there is a provision of about 2,000 lockers, more than 10 cloakrooms and on an average everyday 20,000 blankets are provided to the pilgrims free of any charge. Every day about 10 lakh gallons of water is distributed for the use of pilgrims through a well-designed water supply system. Accommodation for about 10,000 pilgrims is available as sarai free of charges at various locations. Tea, Halwa Prasad and light meals are served as langar at Bhawan free of charge to the pilgrims. Quick efficient yatra registration facility is being provided to the yatris at YRC, Katra and other locations without any charges. All these facilities are being provided to the pilgrims absolutely free of charge.
A study done by IIT Delhi Management Department has assessed that the direct benefits accruing to the Jammu region due to the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage with impetus to the economy of the place is about Rs 450 crore. Indirect inputs to the economy scale to Rs 1,000 crore. Hence all visionaries of the Jammu region would like to take the vision of Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to new horizons, so that in near future the entire region booms with prosperity and opportunities at par with the best in the world.
(Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Katra Jammu and Kashmir, Email: [email protected])