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HC directed the state government deploying machinery or other means like elephants to pull the chariots

Cuttack:14/6/20: The Orissa High Court has directed the state government that in case it decides to hold Rath Yatra festival at Puri inconsistent with the Covid-19 guidelines, then it must also duly consider deploying machinery or other means like elephants to pull the chariots.

The three heavily built wooden chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are traditionally pulled manually over a distance of three kilometers twice during the nine-day festival of the Trinity at Puri. The Ratha Yatra is scheduled to be held on June 23.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Biswajit Mohanty, while disposing of two PIL writ petitions in this regard earlier this week, has made this observation.

“We are inclined to observe that deploying heavy-duty machinery or any other means like elephants, then the men power for pulling the chariots would obviously obviate the necessity of involving a large number of persons, which number could be in many hundreds”, the high court observed in its June 9 order.

According to reports, the state government is likely to take a call next week on holding of the Rath Yatra festival at Puri. While the festival is scheduled for June 23, the Bahuda Yatra (return car festival) is fixed for July 1.

Advocate General Ashok Parija had informed the court that the government is fully aware and monitoring the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the state and Rath Yatra’s decision will be taken on the basis of objective evaluation of the ground situation at an appropriate time.

Not issuing any writ mandamus as prayed by the petitioners, the high court was inclined to hold that it is up to the state government to decide whether or not to allow the religious festival depending on the Coronavirus situation prevalent on the ground.

If however, any such decision is eventually taken, the state government shall ensure strict adherence to the directives issued by the Centre and the State’s own orders containing additional guidelines, the high court said in its 17-page order.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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