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Saturday, April 10, 2010

‘Navratra’ festival profits of Katra traders

Katra (Jammu and Kashmir), Mar 23 (ANI): Katra traders and businessmen do brisk business on the occasion of the ongoing ‘Navratra’ festival.

Thousands of pilgrims throng here on their way to the Hindu shrine of Vaishno Devi.

Katra, which lies in the foothills of Trikuta is visited by devotees all around the year with about 4000-5000 pilgrims visiting the shrine daily.

This in turn boosts the local economy.

“I have always seen that devotees throng this place during Navratras. The devotees believe that visiting this shrine during this time is very auspicious for them,” said Amarjeet Singh, a restaurant owner.

“So, when the tourist inflow increases each and every community, whether he is a businessman, a shopkeeper or a hotelier, earns profit. The people come here and buy things for their family,” Singh added.

On this occasion around 70-75 lakh devotees visit the Shrine each year.

“There is something very special about this festival, as there is normally not much work to do during the rest of the year; but during Navratras the business is good. We do seventy to hundred percent more business during this time than the whole year,” said Anu Dubey, a shopkeeper.

“People come here to buy things and the whole market place is also cleaned up during this festival,” she added.A pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine during the Navratras is considered most auspicious.

Navratra is celebrated with religious fervour twice in a year, during the spring and the autumn season.

The nine-day festival signifies nine manifestations of Goddess Durga, who stands for power. She is depicted as riding a raging lion, holding weapons in her ten hands.

The shrine of Vaishno Devi is one of the oldest shrines of the country, located at a height of 5,300 feet. (ANI)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pawan Hans eyes bigger role for copters

From being a favourite mode of transport for VVIPs and political leaders, more so during election campaigns, helicopters are now vying for attention to become the lifeline of the country by providing services to the common man during times of natural disasters, medical emergencies and maintaining vital infrastructure projects.
Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited (PHHL) — a state-run helicopter organisation which has a nation-wide presence and undertakes pilgrimage trips — is set to carve out a bigger role for itself in the near future.
With heliports coming up in Delhi and Mumbai and helicopter corridors being earmarked by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the PHHL is poised to provide helicopter services during the Commonwealth Games to be held here in October.
The PHHL has also decided not to raise its fares for pilgrimage trips to the Vaishno Devi and Kedarnath shrines despite the recent imposition of additional duties on fuel, PHHL chairman-cum-managing director R.K. Tyagi told journalists here.
A round-trip fare to Vaishno Devi costs about Rs.2,450, while the Kedarnath trip fare has been kept at Rs.7,000.
On the arrangements for the Commonwealth Games, Mr. Tyagi said that while one heliport was coming up at Rohini, another would come up near the Games Village near Akshardham in East Delhi.
“The Delhi Development Authority is giving us Rs.1.92 crore for the construction of the second helipad near the Games Village,” he added.
Mr. Tyagi said the company was also holding discussions with the governments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to acquire land for creating helipads at 10-12 places in the Delhi region.
The Rohini heliport in West Delhi would cover helicopter operations, maintenance, repairs and overhaul facilities as well as a training academy for pilots and technical personnel.
Primary Hub Centre
The one near the Games Village would be used as a Primary Hub Centre from where helicopters would operate during the day and position back in the evenings, and also facilitate the transportation of VIPs, officials and players to the 15 game sites in Delhi.
In view of the growth potential for its business in new areas such as law and order, medical services and tourism, the PHHL has ordered 10 helicopters and has plans to expand its fleet by 100 choppers in the next few years, officials said

Kings XI Punjab owner Priety Zinta pays obeisance at Vaishno Devi Shrine

Bollywood actress and co-owner of Kings XI Punjab Priety Zinta today paid obeisance at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine situated in Trikuta Hills of mountainous Reasi district, sources here said.
The actress reached Katra town this afternoon and started trekking 13-km track on foot to reach Bhawan and have darshans of natural pindies, sources said.
''The actress paid obeisance at around 2030 hrs and prayed for well being of the team,'' sources added.
Kings XI Punjab had so far won only one one match out of eight

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