Puri: Several servitors engaged in the construction of chariots for the world-famous Rath Yatra in the pilgrim town have tested positive for Covid-19 triggering anxiety among the carpenter community over the smooth conduct of the Rath carving works.
As per a statement by the temple administrator, 3 Maharana servitors (two in-charge of Nandighosha chariot and one of Darpadalana chariot) and 5 Bhoi sevayats engaged in the construction of the three chariots of the Holy Trinity have been found positive with the virus infection, informed Shree Jagannath Temple Administration Development Administrator Ajay Jena.
In the second wave of the Covid pandemic, so far a total of 2 servitors and two family members of sevayats have succumbed to the infection, Jena said.
Currently the construction of Tumba(s), the round axles of the chariot wheels is underway and the number of carpenter and assistant servitors in the Rath works is low, so the cases have not affected the works in any way. But it is believed that once the chariot works speed up, deployment of more number of servitors might create a disconcerting scenario.
Sources said, the Temple Chief Administrator will chair a meeting on the chariot construction works today. Some important aspects regarding Covid guidelines, assistance, roping of extra manpower for chariot works are likely to take centrestage during the meeting.
It may be noted that Puri district administration has ordered sevayats on chariot work duties to stay in quarantine. Over some hundreds of servitors have already been mobilised for the Rath construction after Covid tests.