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Suspense over resumption of Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra continues
6/5/2020 11:27:30 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, June 5: Ever since the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued the guidelines for ‘Unlock 1.0’, the devotees of Mata Vaishno Devi are eagerly waiting for the yatra to resume. According to the MHA guidelines, restrictions will be lifted in a phased manner in non-containment zones from June 8. In the first phase, the MHA has asked states and Union Territories (UTs) to re-open religious shrines and places of worship. The Jammu and Kashmir administration has so far not issued any guidelines or standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the post-June 8 period, but the devotees of Mata Vaishno Devi are hoping that the yatra would resume. However, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDS) has denied that any decision has been taken about the resumption of the yatra. “No decision has been taken so far. We are waiting for the guidelines of the government,” said a senior official of SMVDS while speaking to India Today.
There are reports that the authorities are preparing a plan for the resumption of the yatra which was stopped on March 18, even before the imposition of lockdown, due to the outbreak of Covid-19. Meanwhile, the hoteliers and the traders in the holy town of Katra have urged the government to resume the yatra as they have been facing heavy losses for last more than 2 months.
Meanwhile, some reports are doing the rounds that the chopper fare from Katra to Sanjichat will be hiked by 65 per cent once the yatra resumes. If these reports are to be believed, then the new chopper fare will be Rs 1730 per head one way. The existing fare for the same is Rs 1045.
However, SMVDS has denied the reports about chopper fare hike. “Nothing has been finalised yet. The tendering process is on and once it’s completed, we will share the details of the revised fare if such decision is taken”, said a senior official from SMVDSB .
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