Srinagar Divisional Railway Manager, Ferozepur Division, Northern Railway N. C. Goyal called on Governor N. N. Vohra here this evening.
During the meeting, the Governor emphasized the urgent importance of timely putting in place all the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage related facilities at the Katra Railway Station well before the Udhampur-Katra sector of the Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund-Baramulla Rail Link Project becomes operational around March 2013. Observing that, on an estimate, around 75-80 lakh Shri Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims would be de-boarding at the Katra Railway Station from next year, the Governor, who is Chairman of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, stressed the vital requirement of effective cooperation between the Railways and the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, to facilitate the pilgrims and all other commuters to and from Katra Railway Station.
The Governor observed that the Shrine Board would need to establish all the required facilities at the Railway Station, including Information and Enquiry Counters and Registration facilities. It would also be necessary to assess the requirements of Waiting Halls, Eateries, Bath, Latrine, Locker etc facilities, in close consultation with the Railways.
Goyal informed the Governor about the facilities which the Northern Railway is planning to provide at the Katra Railway Station and assured all required support to the Shrine Board for putting in place pilgrim-centric facilities at the Railway Station, while ensuring pro-active cooperation between the Railways and the Shrine Board. After discussions it was agreed that Mr. Navin K. Choudhary, Principal Secretary to the Governor and Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, who also participated in the meeting, would have further discussions with the Railways at Katra on 30th September. It was agreed in principle to explore the possibility of a pilgrim traveling by Railway being automatically registered for the Yatra, on a given date, so that his Railway ticket is virtually also his Yatra Permit.
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