Even though this year’s Rath Yatra in Puri will be held without the participation of devotees, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is not leaving any stone unturned to ensure strict compliance of Covid-19 norms by the handful of participants.
All the servitors, who will be engaged in various rituals of the sibling deities at Puri Jagannath temple, will undergo multiple rounds of Covid test (RT PCR) 48 hours prior to participating in the grand festival.
Similarly, Covid test of police personnel and temple officials involved in arrangements will also be conducted. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting held on Friday.
SJTA chief Adminsitrator Krishan Kumar, Puri Collector Samarth Verma and other senior officials attended the meeting which was convened to discuss the various issues surrounding Covid-19 management during Rath Yatra.
Here are key decisions:
- RT PCR testing to be carried out for all the Sevaks involved in the rituals before 48 hrs. Similarly, Police personnel and Temple officials involved in arrangements will also to be tested.
-The testing will be done at four stages --before Snana Yatra, before Gundicha Yatra, before Bahuda Yatra and lastly, 15 days after Niladri Bije.
- Focus to remain on vaccination of all Sevaks and officials involved.
- A nodal officer will be appointed by the SJTA, Puri Dist Administrtion and CDMO office for close coordination on day-to-day basis.
- A detailed micro-plan to be made for setting up of special medical posts during Ratha Yatra. This will include deployment of additional medical staff in consultation, if required. Focus will be on Sevaks who will primarily pull the chariots in view of the COVID-19 restrictions.
- Adequate number of masks to be distributed among the Sevaks during Snana Yatra and Ratha Yatra.
- To promote hand hygiene like last year, sanitizer to be distributed amongst Sevak families.
- Meetings will be held with members of Nijogs to sensitize them on Do’s & Don’ts to be followed during the conduct on the rituals as per the orders of the State Government.
- Handouts will be distributed among all the Sevaks and officials on the Do’s & don’ts to be followed with regards to COVID-19.