JAMMU: The process of constituting the shrine board for Jammu’s Bawe Wali Mata temple has been moving at a snail’s pace as no headway was seen after a fresh process was initiated by the divisional administration in March this year.
Officials told that the demand was “old but serious”.
An official said the talks to constitute a new board for the management of pilgrimage were started in 2016 after several organizations protested in demand for a proper board for professional management and development of an ancient site situated on a hillock at the bank of Tawi River in Jammu.
The government is contemplating constituting a shrine board for the management and development of the revered fort shrine of Bawe Wali Mata, he said, adding that the divisional administration also recommended handing over the affairs of the temple to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board in 2017 till a proper board was not constituted.
However, more than five years have passed but no concrete steps are seen in this direction. Even the divisional administration shot fresh letters dated March 4, 2023, to Director Tourism and Deputy Commissioner Jammu for their comments on the constitution of the shrine board.
As per the letter, the government asked the tourism department and district administration to share their comments. “Deputy Commissioner Jammu and Director Tourism Jammu in their response stated that setting up of the shrine board for Bawe Wali Mata temple at Bahu Fort shall be in the interest of better management of the affairs of the temple and adjoining properties and it will also enhance the overall development of the temple and the historic fort,” another official said, adding that there is no fresh development regarding the constitution of the shrine board for the temple despite DC and Director Tourism recommending the same.
The demand for the establishment of the shrine board for the temple has also remained confined to certain sections of society in Jammu.
The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was established in the late ‘80s under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Act to provide better management and governance of the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji and its endowments including the appurtenant lands and buildings.
After the establishment of the shrine board, the world-famed cave shrine saw remarkable developments and facilities for visiting pilgrims.
Even a hospital and university apart from many infrastructures have been established by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board after its constitution and thousands of people have got employment in these organizations.
Similarly, the shrine boards have also been established in J&K for Shri Amarnath Shrine in Kashmir, Sukrala Temples in Billawar and other popular shrines—(KNO)