As annual Navratri festival has started, thousands of pilgrims from across the nation have started to pour in Katra. Unfortunately, road which tourists use to reach the holy site is in a pretty deplorable condition. This shows a lethargic attitude of government officials when it comes to tourism of Jammu.
A significant increase in number of tourists visiting Mata Vaishno Devi Cave shrine has been noticed. They have to travel from Domail to Katra to reach their destination. Many potholes have emerged out of various parts of road and blacktopping has also been greatly damaged at various spots. Government authorities have failed to repair this road and didn’t even care about putting patchworks on road.
Vijay, a Katra resident said that even though the J&K government has been claiming to develop whole UT but they have not provided basic road infrastructure to the Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine which is totally unfortunate.
A government official said that Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine pilgrims contribute a significant amount to Shrine Board revenues and many people’s livelihood is dependent on these tourists. So, tourism is a significant factor but still, authorities did not properly maintain road. A lot of pilgrims visit during Navratri festival so government must improve road facilities in order to enhance their visiting experience.
Janak Raj, Executive Engineer of District Reasi said that another Executive Engineer of Katra town has the responsibility to maintain roads from Domail to Katra town. He said they are continuously doing black-topping work and also have started the work from Nau-Devi area. If everything goes according to the plan then they will soon reach there. When he was asked that why his department didn’t complete patchwork during Navratri festival then he said that they have completed patchwork on some parts and left it on another Executive Engineer to explain it.
Executive engineer Arvind Gupta said that they are continuously working on construction of road. They have also started macadamization from Nau devi side and it is expected to complete very soon. He also mentioned that the department has initiated patchwork around a month back and they will complete the remaining portion soon.