Minister of State for Education, Technical Education, Culture, Tourism, Department of Horticulture, Floriculture and Parks, Priya Sethi today reviewed the preparedness for Navratra Festival being organized by Tourism Department at holy township Katra- the base camp for Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.
She asked the Tourism Department to chalk out modalities to improve tourism related services in the state.
For this, she stressed on the need for skill enhancement of the tourism service providers through progressive orientation.
The minister was speaking at a meeting convened to review the preparedness for Navratra Festival.
The Festival would start from October 2 and continue for nine days featuring series of religious and cultural programmes.
Minister of State for Finance and Planning, Information Technology, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, FCS&CA, Tribal Affairs, Relief & Rehabilitation, Labour and Employment, Ajay Nanda was also present in the meeting.
The meeting was also attended by Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Dr Pawan Kotwal, IGP Jammu, Danish Rana, Director Tourism, Sushma Chauhan, DC Reasi, Ravinder Kumar, Additional CEO, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Piyush Singla, Director Doordarshan, Anjali Sharma, senior officers from police and civil administration.
Briefing the minister about various programmes being organized during the festival, Director Tourismm Sushma Chauhan said that the festival shall start on October 1 by taking out a kalash yatra.
She said that the annual festival would be formally inaugurated on October 2 by flagging off a massive Shobha Yatra, showcasing the cultural heritage of the state and the country.
Giving further details, the Tourism Director informed that the prize money for the first three winners of the popular All India Devotional Song Competition has this year been enhanced to Rs 3 lakh, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000.
The meeting was informed that as an additional feature, the cultural programmes will be organized by Song and Drama Division at Government Higher Secondary School, Katra.
The International Wrestling Competition organized every year by J&K Indian Style Wrestling Association will witness participation of wrestlers from within and outside the country adding to the splendor of the festival. Besides this, Hasaya Vyang, Kavi Samellan and cultural programmes will be organized by the concerned committees as per the tradition.
Threadbare discussions were held on the arrangements to be put in place by the concerned departments for the annual festival.
Priya Sethi stressed the need for wide publicity of the festival schedule to attract maximum number of tourists to the state.
The minister called upon Jammu Doordarshan to explore the possibility to telecast all major events of the festival live like the inaugural function.
She also asked the authorities to provide brochures to the visiting tourists highlighting various tourist spots of the province.
She specially stressed on the proper sanitation and cleanliness in the holy town, and instructed the local Municipal Committee to ensure proper disposal of garbage. She also asked them to beautify the city in collaboration with Shrine Board.
The minister directed the CEO Reasi for active participation of students during festival days to help them acquaint them with rich culture of the state.
Speaking at the meeting, Ajay Nanda said that this is one of the famous festivals being organized in the state which attracts thousands of tourists from across the country and abroad. "All the departments should work in tandem to put in place the requisite arrangements" he said.