Taking a lesson from the first-ever stampede at cave shrine on day one of the year 2022, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board is going to create additional infrastructure to cope up with the heavy rush of the pilgrims at the Bhawan.
The Shrine Board, which is managing the Yatra of the cave shrine situated at an altitude of 5,200 feet in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, is going to raise an additional infrastructure to accommodate 1,600 to 1,700 pilgrims at the Bhawan situated in Trikuta Hills.
The upcoming infrastructure having dormitories is expected to be completed by Navratras in the month of October this year.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Shrine Board, Ramesh Kumar, the new infrastructure of dormitories is coming up at Durga Bhawan, which is being upgraded with additional facilities.
The most revered cave shrine generally attracts close to a million devotees every year. This cave shrine usually witnesses a huge rush of pilgrims on the eve of the new year.
12 pilgrims were killed on Jan 1 stampede
12 pilgrims died and thirteen were injured following a stampede at the Shrine on January 1. That was the first such incident at the Shrine.
At the time of the incident, about 50,000 devotees were gathered on the eve of the new year. It is believed that cause of the stampede was a huge rush of devotees at the Bhawan.
Director-General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbag Singh had stated that a minor altercation among some young boys led to a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in which 12 people lost their lives.
"The incident occurred around 2:45 am, and as per initial reports, an argument broke out which resulted in people pushing each other, followed by stampede", the DGP had stated.
Accommodation of devotees to be doubled at Bhawan.
According to reports, with the development of new infrastructure, as many as 1,700 devotees will be accommodated at the Bhawan. The facility for the stay of the devotees will be more than doubled.
Apart from Gauri Bhawan, Vaishnavi Bhawan, and Manokamna Bhawan, Kalika Bhavan has an online booking facility for the stay of the devotees. Often rooms are not available as they get booked online, so the pilgrims arriving at Bhawan can avail the facility of dormitory.
Inquiry panel likely to submit report soon
The three-member panel constituted by the J&K government after the stampede is likely to submit a report soon. After the stampede at the Bhawan of Mata Vaishno Devi, the Jammu and Kashmir Government had announced a three-member inquiry panel to find a reason for the incident.
The panel is headed by Principal Secretary (Home) Shaleen Kabra, with Divisional Commissioner Jammu Rajiv Langar and Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Singh as its members to probe the incident.
A day after its constitution, the three-member committee had asked the people to provide evidence related to the stampede at gate number three of the Bhawan.
"It is for the information of the general public that any person who desires to furnish any facts, statements, electronic evidence, etc, regarding the incident; may share same on the email id: divcomjmu jk@n ic.in or Whatsapp- No: 09419202723 or Landline No: 0191-2478996 by or before 05-01-2022", the notice issued by Divisional Commissioner Jammu mentioned.
"Any person who desires to meet in person, may appear before the said Enquiry Committee in person between 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM on 05-01-2022 in the Office of Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Rail Head Complex, Panama Chowk; to furnish any statements/ facts/ evidence", the notice further mentioned.