Minister for Tourism, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, today, along with senior officials of the administration and Senior Congress leader Mr. Makhan Lal Fatedar visited Khir Bhawani and took stock of the arrangements being made for smooth conduct of ensuing Mela.The Minister went around the shrine complex and directed the officers to ensure that devotees do not face any sort of inconvenience.The temple complex has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 16 crore, having 64 one-room sets, one prayer hall, 2 langars and 2 dining-halls, besides 64 bathrooms. The complex is also fitted with sewerage treatment plant and a 40-KW generator set.
The Minister stressed upon the officers to work with missionary spirit and proper coordination so that all possible facilities are made available to the devotees during Mela days at the Ashthapan. He directed the concerned authorities to ensure cleanliness in and around of the Bhawan besides making all toilets temporarily functional.Tourism Minister, while interacting with yatris, assured them that government has taken all necessary initiatives for upgradation of various facilities for the visiting devotees at the various pilgrimage sites of the state. He said reformative initiatives are under way to upgrade the boarding and lodging facilities at pilgrimage sites for the convenience of the devotees.
Mir said that the Kheer Bhawani Mela has over the years become a source of reunion for Kashmiri Pandits following their mass migration from the Valley in the wake of eruption of militancy in early 1990. He said it also serves as a reminder of communal harmony between Muslims and Kashmiri Hindus as the former makes almost all the arrangements for the latter's stay at the place of worship..He said people of Kashmir believe in secular ethos and mutual brotherhood, which has been the cornerstone of the world-renowned Kashmiryat. “Time is not far off, when both Muslims and Pandits would be living together in the Valley as they used to live earlier for centuries”, he said.
Tourism Minister said the remarkable increase registered in the number of Kashmiri Pandits visiting Khir Bhawani during last few years is an encouraging phenomenon. “Government would continue to work to improve the facilities for the devotees visiting Khir Bhawani,” he said adding that Kashmiri Pandits are integral part of the culture and ethos of Kashmir and Kashmiriyat. He said that their return to the Valley is the cherished goal and yearning of the government and the civil society. He said the improvement in the security situation and generation of economic avenues for this community would supplement the endeavors of the government to achieve this goal. The Minister also extended his felicitations to the people on the occasion of the festival and hoped it will open a new era of peace and prosperity in the State. Senior Congress leader Mr. Makhan Lal Fatedar also paid obeisance at the shrine and prayed for peace and prosperity of the State.