Rashmi Rekha Das

Keeping the safety of devotees in mind, the famous Dhabaleswar Yatra has been suspended this year, Khordha SP Sidharth Kataria, who is in-charge of Cuttack SP, said on Tuesday.

The district administration has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC due to safety concerns. As the hanging bridge connecting the temple is in bad shape and needs repair, decision in this regard was taken, said sources.

Meanwhile, the administration has banned the entry of devotees to the shrine and clamped 144 Sections to facilitate the repair of the suspension bridge. The move came following the collapse of a century-old bridge in Morbi of Gujarat on Sunday killing 135 people. 

Speaking to OTV, Kataria said “Public safety is our top priority. The bridge has been declared unsafe. So, Section 144 will be there for some time so that the district administration can carry out repair work of the bridge.”

Following the Morbi tragedy, the local administration at Athagarh has reduced the capacity of the suspension bridge at Dhabaleswar. Only 200 devotees were allowed to travel through the bridge at a time. Following that the district administration decided to shut the hanging bridge for one day (on Tuesday) in order to undertake a thorough safety inspection.

On the other hand, some devotees who reached Dhabaleswar expressed disappointment over the sudden closure decision of the administration. 

The devotees are of the opinion that there is no need to cancel the age-old Dhabaleswar Yatra. When the hanging bridge was not there, people used to go to the shrine by boat. The administration can resume boat service so that devotees can have darshan of the deity.

Reported by Kapilendra Pradhan