Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Temple was literally a ‘holy’ mess before the constitution of a board to manage its affairs in 1986. “But the big thrust happened three years ago when there was a renewed emphasis on cleanliness and conservation,” says current additional CEO of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Anshul Garg. The improvements have swelled the faith too, pilgrim footfalls were up to 81,78,000 last year.
In June this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated two key projects at the shrine—a 7.5 km alternative paved pathway from the starting station at Katra to Adhkuwari, and a service ropeway capable of transporting 5,000 kg of material from Sair Dabri to Bhawan every hour of the day.
Initiatives that have made a huge difference include a ban on plastic, installing of ‘water ATMs’ for free filtered drinking water, and waterless ‘flushmenot’ kind toilets (it helps save some 5.5 million gallons of water annually). Also, all wastewater generated is recycled for use as secondary water at the six sewerage treatment plants. —Asit Jolly
SHRINE SHINE Sanitation workers at the Vaishno Devi shrine