New Delhi, March 18: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, the Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, has reconstituted the board and nominated eight members for three years.
The new members are Mahamandleshwar Swami Vishveshvaranand Giriji Maharaj of Mumbai; Neelam Sareen of Jammu; former IPS Ashok Bhan; former IAS Baleshwar Rai; K.K. Sharma of AIMIL Pharmaceuticals Ltd; former judge Suresh Kumar Sharma; Raghu K. Mehta of Jammu; and Kul Bushan Ahuja of New Delhi.
“We will initiate steps to make Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage more hassle-free and to ensure the satisfaction of the devotees over the board arrangements,” Sharma told IANS.
The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was set up in August 1986 under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Act of 1988, which came into force on August 30, 1986.
The board was created in 1986 and the model has been emulated for the management of shrines and temples across India.
One of the holiest Hindu temples, Vaishno Devi, is located in Katra town of Reasi district.
The temple is situated at an altitude of 5,200 feet, about 12 km from Katra.
The pilgrim footfall at the shrine was over 55.77 lakh in 2021, compared to 17 lakh the previous year due to the coronavirus pandemic.