Meeting with Union Secretary Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation- Governor reviews Katra development

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Jammu, April 25: The progress on development of Katra Town and its adjoining areas was reviewed at a high level meeting chaired by Governor N. N. Vohra, Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, at the Raj Bhavan yesterday.


This review meeting was held as a follow up of the decisions taken in the meeting held between the Governor and the Chief Minister on 17th Februray, 2017 in connection with the future infrastructure development of Katra town and its surrounding areas as well as the initiatives being taken under Swachh Iconic Places Scheme under which Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine has been selected as one among only 10 Iconic Places identified in the country for its infrastructure development and sanitation.

Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation; Mr. B. R. Sharma, Chief Secretary; Mr. Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to the Governor;Mr. Dheeraj Gupta, Secretary, Power Development Department; Mr. Hirdesh Kumar, Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department; Mr. Saurabh Bhagat, Secretary, PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control; Mr. Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board; Mr. Farooq Ahmad Shah, Secretary Tourism; Mr. Ravinder Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Reasi; Mr. Arun Kumar Sharma, Director, Urban Local Bodies, Jammu; Mr. Akshay Kumar Rout, OSD and Mr. Yougal Kishore Joshi, Director SBM with Union Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, respectively; Mr. Hari Anupam, SDRSM, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Jammu; Mr. D.K. Goel DGM HR & CSR; Mr. Arun Khanna, DGM, IOCL Chandigarh, Mr. Bibhuti Pradhan, DGM (CSR), Mr. Subimal Mondal, ED, HR & CSR-all representatives of IOCL, which is a PSU partner of the Swachh Iconic Places scheme participated in the meeting.

Governor underscored the crucial need for time bound implementation of all works which have been identified under the various schemes to ensure that the civic amenities are developed on modern lines and utmost sanitation and cleanliness is ensured in this fast expanding base town of the pilgrimage to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. He observed that millions of pilgrims visit Katra every year and this number is bound to substantially increase in the coming time. Keeping this in view all the arrangements, particularly augmentation of water supply, modernisation of power supply system, and ensuring sanitation and cleanliness, need to be timely executed by synergising resources and expertise in a well planned and coordinated manner by all the stakeholders.

Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India gave details of the various initiatives being taken for development of the towns and shrines taken up under Swachh Iconic Places Scheme. He said that implementation of the scheme is being reviewed on quarterly basis to ensure timely completion.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department informed that the required action has been initiated for implementation of all components of the Katra Vaishno Devi project under the Swachh Iconic Places Scheme. He added that a High Level Coordination Committee has been set up as a follow up of the meeting between Governor and the Chief Minister and the process for preparation of integrated plans by all the concerned agencies has been initiated for implementation of all the schemes relating to Katra town, including the Swachh Iconic Places Scheme.

The State Government has also taken up with the Central Government for assistance for Katra Town being covered under AMRUT and the PRASAD Schemes of the Government of India.

The meeting held an extensive discussion on various aspects of the development of civic amenities and making Katra a model of cleanliness within an envisaged timeframe. The meeting was informed about the initiatives taken by the Shrine Board for the improvement of Katra Town.Work on 7 projects has already been started and work on 9 other projects is being taken up shortly. For ensuring sanitation and cleanliness on the track and in the Shrine area, cluster Sewage Treatment Plants in various clusters of accommodation and at major Yatra stations are being set up. STPs with 4.6 MLD installed capacity for treating sewage wastes and one STP with 400 KLD capacity is under construction at Niharika in Katra and work has been allotted for constructing another STP at Adhkuwari (400 KLD). In addition, 3 packaged STPs are also being installed at stand-alone locations and shall be replicated at other places. Similarly, bio-remediation has also been attempted in one of the toilet blocks on Yatra Track and feasibility of its replication at other places is being considered.

Regarding solid waste being generated by mules, the Board has constructed mule sheds at Katra, Adhkuwari and Bhawan where a proper system of collection of mule dung has been set up which has protected the track from littering of mule dung. The Board is also preparing a Master Plan for whole Shrine area so that adequately long-term perspective is developed for determining the scale and capacity of the infrastructure facilities which need to be provided for the pilgrims.