Bhubaneswar:8/7/21: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today sought blessings of Lord Jagannath for the smooth conduct of Rath Yatra amid Covid-19 restrictions this year. Addressing a review meeting over video conference, Naveen laid stress on timely completion of rituals and strict adherence to COVID protocols during Rath Yatra.
The festival will be broadcast over television and the Internet because visitors have been restricted due to the COVID-19 situation. Like last year, this year also the whole world will be a virtual audience to the divine annual sojourn of Lord Jagannath and his siblings to their Aunt’s place.
Speaking about the pandemic Naveen said, “Though the daily figures have come down, the risk of the second wave still exists. I pray Lord Jagannath to bless us for the smooth conduct of Rath Yatra this year.”
The CM thanked the people of Puri for their unconditional support during Rath Yatra in 2020 and appealed for the same this time.
Addressing the meeting, Health Minister Naba Kisore Das said proper arrangements have been done for COVID testing of servitors, police and administrative personnel. Besides, medical aid posts will be setup at regular intervals on the Bada Danda to attend to any emergency during the festival.
Law Minister Pratap Jena said, “With the support of one and all we hope the Rath Yatra is celebrated amid religious fervour and blessings of Mahaprabhu this year.”
DG Police Abhay briefed the Ministers about security arrangements for Rath Yatra. SJTA Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar and Puri Collector Samarth Verma shared details on the arrangements.
Secretary to CM (5T) coordinated the review meeting. Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, Development Commissioner PK Jena and senior officials were also present.
with barely three days away for the festival, the district administration of Puri along with the health department set up camps for the RT-PCR tests of all the servitors to be engaged in pulling of the chariots and other officials to be engaged in the duty.
Around 8,000 people including 3,000 servitors of lord Jagannath, 3,000 police personnel, 1,000 servitors engaged in chariot construction work and Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) staff will undergo the test for the second time ahead of the festival.
This apart, a special testing camp was also being organised for the COVID-19 test of about 1,000 media persons and other government employees, to take part in the festival.
The people participating in the nine-day festival of the lord will undergo COVID tests four times to check spread of the deadly infection.
For the first time, the servitors’ RT-PCR tests were done before the auspicious ‘Snan Yatra’ (bathing ritual) of the Lord on June 24. The COVID testing of servitors and others started for the second time before the ratha yatra.
Meanwhile, the Grand Road will be transformed into a green zone for emergency services during the ratha yatra, said Puri SP K V Singh.
He said the fire fighting vehicles and ambulances can play in the green zone. The security will be tightened around the Puri town, the SP said.