Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Current Affairs - 2020

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Vaishno Devi shrine named country’s ‘Best Swachh Iconic Place’

Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir has been named country’s ‘Best Swachh Iconic Place’. President Ram Nath Kovind will confer the award to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) during the ‘Swachh Mahotsav’ to be organised by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on 6 September 2019.

Key Highlights

The Rankings of Swachh Iconic Places was released by Union ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Vaishno Devi Shrine which is visited by thousands of devotees daily, received a special award in 2017 from union ministry of drinking water and sanitation for bagging 2nd spot behind Golden Temple. In 2018, shrine was also declared as cleanest religious place by India Today Group.

Why Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine? The Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine has been adjudged on basis of overall improvement in sanitation brought about by board due to several initiatives taken in last few years to ensure cleanliness of entire shrine area.

Initiatives: taken by board includes not only equid dung management centre, installing water kiosks, kill waste machines, but also collection, transportation and disposal of waste along with regular mopping up of waste though a workforce of 1300 sanitation workers, among others have enabled shrine to achieve top rank.

Other competitors: The shrine competed with many other iconic places in country including-

Church and Convent of St Francis of Assissi (Goa), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Maharashtra), Tirupati Temple (Andhra Pradesh), Taj Mahal (Uttar Pradesh), Golden Temple (Punjab), Kamakhya Temple (Assam), Jagannath Puri (Odisha), Ajmer Sharif Dargah (Rajasthan), among others.

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Vaishno Devi Shrine to have its own Disaster Response Force by 2020

Mata Vaishno Devi shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) will get a dedicated in-house disaster response force by September 2020. For this purpose NDRF and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in early 2019.

Key Highlights

MoU: The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed  between NDRF and shrine board in early 2019 was keeping in mind hilly terrain of region and emphasised the need for imparting Advanced Disaster Management Training to shrine board staff in batches so as to keep them in state of readiness for effectively and promptly responding to any disaster situation.

The 1st respondents in case of any eventuality will be staffs of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. The training of board staffs has already begun at headquarters of 7th battalion of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Punjab.

Staff Selection: The Shrine board employees who are fit and have about 15-20 years of service remaining will undergo this training capsule. It includes staff from security, medical and assistance wings, sweepers, receptionists, salesmen and catering providers etc.

Training Undertaken:

NDRF is not charging any fee for training of shrine’s board staff that is being trained for ensuring a quick response in case of any fire incident, earthquake, landslides or any other emergency situation.

The 6 week training of 1st batch of 25 staff that started on 18 May 2019 is almost heading for completion. Now, the shrine board plans to train 180 employees by September 2020 to prepare a dedicated disaster response force for shrine.

The board also plans to set up an Emergency Operation Centre as part of its disaster preparedness.

Tasks Undertaken: For further augmenting disaster management preparedness an NDRF team would conduct a comprehensive audit of disaster management stores that are set up by Shrine board at various locations on pilgrimage track and in Bhawan area so that, wherever required, these are further replenished and strengthened by adding latest gadgets and equipment.

Mock Drill: In March 2019 an NDRF team conducted a mock exercise on yatra track near Bhawan area in order to analyze and evaluate level of preparedness to most effectively and promptly respond to any emergency situation.

About Mata Vaishno Devi

It is shrine is a dediacted to Vaishno Devi also known as Mata Rani, Trikuta and Vaishnavi, who is a manifestation of Hindu Goddess Mata Adi Shakti (or Mahalakshmi/Matrika Goddess).

The religious pilgrimage shrine lies atop Trikuta hills, in Reasi district of Jammu region.

In 2019, it attracts 86 lakh pilgrims from across the world which was highest in past 5 years.

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