JAMMU: Hundreds of traders on Tuesday observed total shutdown in protest against proposed Tarakote-Sanji Chhat ropeway project in Katra town of Reasi district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Amidst slogans, the local traders this morning took out a protest rally and staged sit-in outside office of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.
The protesting traders said that they will submit a memorandum to the Shrine Board requesting for the cancellation of the proposed passenger ropeway project between Tarakote Marg and Sanji Chhat along the 12-km track to the revered shrine atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha on February 20 during his visit to Katra, said that the tender process for a ropeway for the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine is the final phase and the project will be undertaken with “utmost sensitivity” to safeguard the interests of local businesses.
Sinha, who is also the chairman of the Shrine Board, said, “The tendering process of the ropeway project is in its last phase and the work on the project will be undertaken with utmost sensitivity to ensure that local business is not impacted.”
However, the protesting traders opposed the decision alleging that the local business will get completely affected if the ropeway project takes off from Tarakote Marg to Sanji Chhat.
As per officials, the 2.4-km-long 250 crore ropeway project will be completed in three years and with this facility, pilgrims can reach the temple complex in just six minutes compared to the five to six hour trek.
91.25 lakh pilgrims visited the shrine in 2022, the highest in nearly a decade.
Earlier in May 2018, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated Tarakote Marg, an alternate seven kilometre track to the temple which is less steep and with easier gradient.