The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) is in the process of formulating SoPs that will be followed once pilgrimage to the cave shrine in Trikuta hills of Jammu and Kashmir resumes.
The yatra will resume only when directions from the Union Home ministry are issued.
The pilgrimage to the shrine in Reasi district was stopped on March 18 in view of spread of coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Shrine Board is in the process of formulating SOPs for the resumption of the yatra once the lockdown is lifted. The pilgrimage will start only when directions from the Home Ministry are issued,” CEO, SMVDSB, Ramesh Kumar, told PTI here.
He said the board is considering online registration of devotees, while GPS-enabled systems are also under consideration to track pilgrims in real-time to ensure they adhere to social distancing measures.
Kumar said the board is mulling installation of door-mounted thermal scanning at multiple places en route Bhawan while the bed capacity at free dormitories is being reduced temporarily to implement social distancing measures
Only families will be permitted to use the paid lodging to reduce the chances of the spread of the infection.
“Some other suggestions like reducing seating capacities at bhojanalaya (food court) and langars (community kitchens) besides giving coupons to devotees with specific time slots to manage the crowds better, are under consideration,” he said.
The Jammu Region Chapter of PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry recently held a video conference on the topic “Way forward for tourism & Shri Vaishnodevi yatra post Covid-19” and several tourism experts and stakeholders took part in it.
Former IAS officer Parvez Dewan suggested reduction in quota of yatra to 33 percent for few months.
As we have 3 routes for this pilgrimage, the yatra may be regulated with one for going to the shrine and another for coming down, he said.
Hotelier Rakesh Wazir noted that the pilgrimage contributes vigorously towards the economy of not only Jammu and Kashmir but also of adjoining states.
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