Ban on sale, consumption of tobacco products in Vaishno Devi town of Katra

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Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir administration Saturday banned the sale, possession and consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products in the holy town of Katra, which houses the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, officials said.

Reasi District Magistrate Vishesh Mahajan said the initiative, launched on the World No-Tobacco Day, aims to maintain the sanctity of the religious place visited by lakhs of pilgrim every year.

The administration has already banned the sale, possession, and consumption of meat and liquor in Katra and adjoining areas.

“Under Section 144, we have imposed a ban on the stocking, sale, and consumption of cigarettes, gutkha and other forms of tobacco in the area starting from Numaee and Panthal check posts via Tara Court track up to Bhavan,” Mahajan told reporters.

“The ban is an extension of the existing prohibition on the sale and consumption of liquor and meat,” he said.

Mahajan said the move aims to keep the Katra base camp, the track and the entire area tobacco free. Katra has been witnessing a rush of more than 30,000-40,000 pilgrims on a daily basis these days.

The cave shrine in Trikuta hills in Jammu’s Reasi district was visited by more than 93.50 lakh pilgrims in 2023 — the highest footfall in a decade. According to the shrine officials, it surpassed the 2013 figure of 93.24 lakh.

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