For improving services for the pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) has launched e-surveillance radio frequency identification device (RFID) based tracking and pre-paid system for hiring ponies and other modes of transportation on the track leading to the shrine.

Governor Satya Pal Malik, who is the chairman of the SMVDSB, on Friday, took stock of various facilities for pilgrims in the first meeting of the newly constituted board.

Several important decisions were taken in the meeting for further extending better facilities to the pilgrims on the 13 km long yatra route. The meeting approved the installation of CCTV Surveillance System on the entire track from Darshani Deodi to the Bhawan which will be implemented on a turnkey basis.

Once in place, this system will not only help in monitoring the movement of the pilgrims and strengthening overall security measures, it will also be of immense support in case of any emergency situations to provide real-time assistance to the shrine and local administration.

Among others, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, member of the board, BVR Subrahmanyam, chief secretary, Umang Narula, principal secretary to the Governor and Simrandeep Singh, chief executive officer of the shrine board attended the meeting that was held here at the Raj Bhavan.

The SMVDSB decided to reverse its decision of setting up a medical college as an AIIMS and five new medical colleges are coming up in the Jammu region. The Governor stressed that the expenditure of the board should be less than or equal to the total income.

The Board reviewed the status of the installation of a hi-tech Multipurpose Audio System on Tarakote Marg from Katra to Adhkuwari which is being implemented for facilitating on-foot pilgrims who use the scenic Tarakote Marg for their journey to the holy cave shrine. This audio system will be installed at an estimated cost of over Rs 4.55 crore, which includes operational and maintenance cost for 5 years. 550 speakers will be installed along the Tarakote Marg for the facilitation of pilgrims and will become operational by mid of June this year. It will play devotional music and spiritual songs.

A Rs 3.50 crore project of dedicated fire hydrants in the shrine area has also been approved. Besides, sewage treatment plants costing Rs 6.65 crore are also being constructed in a phased manner.

The Board also had a review of the status of the installation of underground cabling work from Katra to Bhawan and the surrounding areas at an estimated cost of Rs 78 crore and also of the nursing college that is being constructed by the board at a cost of Rs 53 crore.