Vikash Sharma

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday took stock of the administrative preparedness for the upcoming Rath Yatra festival which is likely to see a footfall of over 10 lakh devotees this year. Reason, the participation of the devotees was restricted for past two years owing to Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Attending the final Rath Yatra coordination committee meeting virtually, Patnaik directed officials to ensure that the devotees return after the festival with good memories and experience.

The Chief Minister also expressed gratitude towards the servitors who assisted the administration and pulled the chariots during the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Today’s coordination meeting assumed much significance as it would draw up the plan and finalise the strategy to ensure smooth conduct of the Rath Yatra festival. State Law Minister Jagannath Saraka, Development Commissioner PK Jena and other officials of Puri Jagannath Temple attended the coordination meeting.

“The arrangements have been made keeping in view the turnout of over 10 lakh devotees. Our focus will be on augumenting resources and special information centres for devotees from outside the state,” said State Law Minister Jagannath Saraka.

“During the special review meeting, the CM directed the officials to make necessary arrangements and give focus on crowd control, traffic and other measures,” said Jena.

According to Jena, the State health department has been asked to mobilise additional ambulance, stretchers and volunteers besides setting up heat stroke room and other facilities. “The servitors and others did a remarkable job in conducting the rituals during the Covid-19 pandemic situation. The servitors are cooperating and we hopeful on conducting Rath Yatra without any hassles,” Jena added.