Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Heavy rush at Bahu Fort on Ist Navratra

The eight day Navratra festival witnessed a colourful start with Dy Chief Minister Tara Chand inaugurating the mega event at Katra, the base camp of holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi by lighting the sacred `Jyoti' while all the shrines of the `Goddess' at Bahu Fort, Chichi Mata, Sukrala and other places in the region saw heavy rush on fist day of Navratras today.

Navratra Festival, 17th in the series is being organized at Katra by Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board and Tourism Department in collaboration with the District administration. An impressive Shoba Yatra, depicting rich cultural heritage was also taken out at Katra town in connection with the celebrations. A large number of locals and senior officials from Board and other agencies participated in the event. The DyCM extended greetings to the people on this occasion.

MLA Reasi, Baldev Sharma, Addl Chief Executive Officer, SMVDSB Dr M K Bhandari, Director Tourism R S Mehta, DIG Jagjit Kumar, SSP Reasi Raghubir Singh and former president MC Katra Ambrish Mangotra were also present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, thousands of `Shiv Sainiks' from the State and outside took out a big rally in the winter capital city here before leaving for Katra Mata Vaishnodevi while all the shrines of the `Goddess' at Bahu Fort, Sukrala, Chichi Mata etc witnessed huge rush of devotees on first Navartra today.

A large number of `Shiv Sainiks', attired in traditional Dogri dress including turbans, assembled at Maulana Azad Stadium. Then led by the Sena leader from the State, Ashok Gupta, they took out a religious procession towards city. Over six thousand `Shiv Sainiks' from the State and outside took part in the procession passing. They were carrying `Trishuls'. A team of Brass band and drum-beaters was leading the large procession. `Shiv Sainiks' were raising religious slogans.

The district administration diverted the traffic to different routes but traffic jams were witnessed at many city bottle-necks during the procession this afternoon.

In Samba town also large procession was taken out by the Shiv Sainiks. Nearly 400 Sainiks started their procession from Chohata and then moved towards Main Bazar and Bus Stand. Local Sena leader Romesh Gupta was leading. Then they moved towards Jammu in buses fitted with Sena flags different vehicles. Similar, processions were taken out in Kathua and other towns of the region by Shiva Sainiks before leaving for Jammu.

A senior police official said that nearly 5500 Shiv Sainiks assembled at MA stadium and then took out procession in the city here. He claimed that over 3200 `Shiv Sainiks' in nearly 70 buses and minibuses besides other vehicles left for Katra Mata Vaishnodevi at around 4.15 pm from here today.

Meanwhile, heavy rush of pilgrims was witnessed a Mata Vaishnodevi Darbar, Bahu Fort, Chichi Mata Samba, Sukrala Mata, Bala Sundri Mata shrines Billawar & Nagri, Mata Pingla Ramnagar, Jorha Wali Mata at Bani and Jasrota Fort temple in Kathua. The additional deployment of police force has been made and necessary arrangements put in place for the devotees by the respective district administrations at these shrines. They were highly decorated by the management committees on Navratra festival.

Minister of State for Cooperatives, Finance and Planning Dr Manohar Lal Sharma inaugurated Navratra festival at Sukrala Mata shrine and paid obeisance at the holy shrine. He prayed for peace , progress and prosperity of the state. He greeted people on this occasion. A large number of devotees thronged the shrine on first day of Navratras. The minister also inaugurated an ATM counter of J&B Bank at Sukrala.

At Ramnagar, an impressive function was organized in connection with Navrta festival. MP Lal Singh in presence of DC Udhampur P K Pole, SDM Basantgarh Krishan Lal, SDPO and Tehsildar Ramnagar inaugurated festival by lighting 26th Akhand Jyoti of Mata Pingla, at Chabutra Ramnagar. A large number of people were present besides members of the Akhad Jyoti Committee. It was disclosed that grand Shoba Yatra will be taken out on 4th day of Navratra from Pingla Devi Chabutra at Ramnagar.

Meanwhile Divisional Commissioner Pardeep Gupta today inaugurated Navratra festival at Raghunath Mandir Chowk here today. The function in this connection was organized by Raghunath Bazar Businessmen Association led by Baldev Khullar. Commissioner JMC K L Khajuria, ADC rehana Batul were also present. They greeted people on this occasion. Entire market has been decorated by the association members.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bhagwat Mahapurana Katha at Durga Nagar Concludes

Week long Bhagwat Mahapurana Katha organised by Shri Hari Kirtan Adhyatmik Jagriti Mission in collaboration with Shiv Shakti Mandir Committee, Roop Nagar Enclave, concluded at Shiv Shakti Mandir.

During the week-long Bhagwat Mahapurana Katha, large number of devotees from all walks of life participated and took away the blessings of Lord Krishna.

Throwing light on various chapters of Bhagwat Mahapurana, Bushan Lal Bhat, Sharangat, urged devotees to surrender themselves unconditionally in the feet of Lord Krishna and not waste their precious time in mundane affairs only.

On the concluding day, prasad was also served among the devotees. Besides, fruit and other essential materials were also distributed in Orphan Ashram and Old Age Ashram, Amphalla, Blind Ashram, Roop Nagar and Christian Ashram, Tali-Morh.

Navratra Festival 2012 at Bawe Wali Mata Temple

Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, Raman Bhalla today asked the JDA, PDD, JMC, R&B, Health, Police and Traffic Departments to make all necessary arrangements at Shri Bawe Wali Mata temple for the smooth conduct of nine-day Navratras Festival.

The Minister said this while inspecting the arrangements made by the various departments at the temple, here this evening.

Officers of JMC, R&B, PHE, PDD, Health, Police and Traffic Departments accompanied the Minister.

Mr. Bhalla asked the JMC to complete the remaining works of temporary toilet blocks, including construction of water reservoir positively in double shifts for the convenience of devotees. He asked the PDD and JMC to make functional all the street lights in and around temple, including way side.

The Minister called upon the shopkeepers not to sell stale eatables to the visitors and beautify the area by displaying goods in an attractive manner with attractive sunshades for protection.

Mr. Bhalla said, "to meet the challenges in tourism, our emphasis is on diversification and providing requisite infrastructure facilities to the pilgrims and tourists in the State". He said that efforts are on to divert tourists of Mata Vaishno Devi to other pilgrim places and leisure and adventure spots of both the region and added that for the purpose Government was making all out efforts to upgrade the infrastructure and recreational facilities at tourist and holy places across the State.

The Minister said Tourist Reception Centres, wayside facilities and huts have been developed along the way to almost all the tourist destinations.

Giving the details of some initiatives taken by the Government for development and upgrading of tourism infrastructure in Jammu Division, the Minister said that the restoration and conservation work of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex would be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore, adding that out of which Rs.75 crore have been approved by the Centre for the current financial year.

He said that Government has sanctioned Rs. 3.5 crore for developing the river Tawi embankment area near Peer Kho Temple by constructing park, Tourist Reception Centre, artificial lake and viewpoints, adding that Rs. 90 lakh have been kept for construction of view points and road widening from Bahu Fort to Harki Poudi temple.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Saving water bodies in Kashmir

When god created the blue planet and filled the deep drenches with fresh water, he would have hardly thought that one day man will pollute it to such an extent where from it will become impossible to beat a retreat. The importance of water is becoming a worldwide issue and India does not fall too deep in the count. And in India, when we peep deep, J&K is found quite high up in the list.

Indeed, Srinagar is blessed with the deep depths of the Dal and the Pacific water of the Wullar besides the countless little rivers and streams. The valley might be decorated by these water bodies by nature itself, but only to be polluted with heap of waste by the people themselves.

The various aspects which are responsible for snatching the glory of these water bodies, we found five main cornerstones after a detailed case study of 25 days.

* Heavy drenching of Dal still unnoticed:-
When it comes to drenching, it has been going on from the past few years openly and unnoticed. The people to hold responsible are the boatmen residing in houseboats who every now and then try to convert a portion of the Dal into a kitchen garden. Our team has even found a company of boatmen cultivating vegetables on large scale for commercial purposes. On looking into the water and after a prolonged investigation, it was found that the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) Department constructed a separate colony years ago near JVC Bemina to habitat the boatman on large scale and curb encroachment. The plan worked for a couple of years. But after that, to utmost surprise, these boatmen sold away these houses in colonies to earn revenue and rehabilitated to house-boats again on mass-scale to add to the problem.

* Waste-disposal into Dal:-
Valley produces tons of garbage every day. Besides the local people residing near the water bodies, some other vehicles ferrying waste from surrounding areas were found dumping heaps of garbage into these water bodies en mass.
The environmental activists reacted to the serious problem which later ended up in the construction of large pits for waste disposal and free dustbins especially to Dal residents.

* Sewage-flow Dal and Wullar:-
In the past few years, all the drains in the city and adjoining had one common destination? The Dal in the central and the Wullar in the northern side. Due to constant sewage flow into these water bodies, their size was decreased by around 15 kilometers which is shocking yet not surprising.

Taking notice of the serious problem, various sewage-treatment plants were established which ceased a problem to a greater extent but our team report suggests that there is still a lot of work to be done to tighten the screws on the grave problems.

* Use of toxic chemicals:-
To ensure early ripening of the fruits and increase the size and quantity of other commercial vegetables, valley-folk drove relentlessly towards profitable and lucrative markets by making use of chemicals which proved to be a disaster for the aquatic life.

The case study in Apple town of Kashmir sopore revealed to our team that decline in fish population in world famous Wullar lake was a consequence of the frequent use of toxic-chemicals. And that was not all! The use of these chemicals became so orthodox that they soon began to be supplied to every nook and corner of the valley. As ill luck would have it, the ultimate sufferer of the hazard was the aquatic life in general and surrounding population in particular.

As an evil consequence, Cholera cases were reported recently from several villages like Lawaypora.
This case study was enough to reveal the curtains which had not been raised from several previous dark years.