Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Sanjeev Verma today chaired a meeting to review the preparedness for Navratra Festival, being organized by Tourism Department at holy township Katra- the base camp for Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.The festival would start from October 10 and continue for nine days featuring series of religious and cultural programmes. DC Reasi has been designated as Nodal officer for the festival this year.The meeting was attended by IGP Jammu, Dr S D Singh Jamwal, Deputy Commissioner Reasi, Prasanna Ramaswamy G, Chief Engineer PWD(R&B), Sudhir Shah, Director Tourism, Om Parkash Bhagat, Director Floriculture, Babila Rakwal, Director School Education, Rakesh Srangal,Director Doordarshan, Anjali Sharma, Dy CEO SMVDSB Amit Vermani, Dy Director Information Atul Gupta, SDM Katra Neelam Khajuria, Chief Executive Officer, KDA, Dr Jagdish Mehra, senior officers from police, civil Administration and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board besides members of civil society and representatives of various religious organizations.The meeting was informed that the nine day festivities would start with inauguration of the festival on October 10, 2018 at 11 am at the Asia Chowk Katra followed by Shobha Yatra and a grand event showcasing the cultural heritage of the state and the country.
Briefing the meeting, Director Tourism informed that various events will be organized during the festival days including presentation of Mata Rani ki Kahani, Ram Leela, Prabhat Pehris, folk festival, devotional song competition, wrestling competition and various other cultural programmes. The meeting also proposed to introduce Bhagvat Katha during the festival.Divisional Commissioner had a detailed review of the arrangements being put in place for conducting the grand annual festival. He directed the concerned departments to work in a well coordinated manner to make elaborate preparations well in advance. He stressed on proper regulation of traffic, foolproof security, adequate arrangements for health care, water and power supply in the entire town.He further directed the local Municipal Committee for ensuring proper sanitation and cleanliness in the holy town besides proper disposal of garbage. He also asked them to beautify the city in collaboration with Shrine Board.To give a face-lift to the holy town, the Div Com asked the Municipal authorities to paint the walls with scenic landscapes and images depicting the rich folk and cultural heritage of the state and sceneries of magnificent scenic tourist spots of the division.Div Com said that Navratra Festival is an effective medium to promote pilgrim tourism.
Over the years, Navratra Festival has become a major national event through which we can take pilgrim tourism to new highs by showcasing numerous other historical religious places of the region, he added. He asked the Tourism Department to chalk out modalities to improve tourism related services in the region.Div Com also stressed on the need for wide publicity of the festival schedule to attract maximum number of tourists to the region and further directed for installation of informative sign boards across the town for the convenience of the tourists. Doordarshan was asked to explore the possibility to telecast all major events of the festival live besides Information department was directed to setup a media centre at Katra to provide maximum coverage to the 9-day long festival.The meeting was informed that as an additional feature, the cultural programmes would also be organized by JKACCL and Regional Outreach Bureau, GoI.Director School Education was asked for ensuring active participation of students during festival days to acquaint them with rich culture of the state.It was further informed that the International Wrestling Competition organized every year by J&K Indian Style Wrestling Association will witness participation of wrestlers from within and outside the country. Besides this, Hasaya Vyang, Kavi Samellan and cultural programmes will be organized by the concerned committees as per the tradition.