Pradeep Pattanayak

Soon after the horrific bridge tragedy at Morbi in Gujarat on Sunday, local administration at Athagarh in Cuttack district has reduced the capacity on the suspension bridge to famous Dhabaleswar shrine. 

Only 200 devotees are being allowed to travel through the bridge to the island shrine at a time.  

In the wake up the Gujarat bridge mishap, an expert team from Kolkata was roped in carry out detailed inspection of the suspension bridge over Mahanadi river that connects the centuries old Shiva peeth. 

As per the team’s recommendation, the administration has reduced the number of visitors to minimize the pressure on the bridge. 

“As per the recommendations of the expert team, we have reduced the number of visitors on the bridge at a given time to 200,” informed Athagarh Sub-Collector Hemanta Kumar Swain. 

“A maximum of 10,000/12,000 people can be allowed to visit the shrine on a day. We are also arranging for boat facility so that extra 10,000 people can come to the shrine,” Swain added. 

In this holy Kartik month and ‘Panchuka’ time, every year lakhs of devotees visit the Dhabaleswar temple. To reach the shrine, some devotees use the suspension bridge and some use boats. 

Sub Collector Hemanta Kumar Swain has requested people to refrain from visiting the temple during this busy festive season especially the Kartik vrat observers.

“I would like to say it would be better if only those who have vrats should visit the shrine. General tourists are requested to avoid coming to the shrine at this time to unnecessarily create anxiety among devotees visiting the shrine for Kartik rituals,” said Swain. 

“An all-season bridge is presently under construction which will complete in three months time. After opening of the bridge, all can come to the shrine any time of the year. So, for the time being common visitors should skip their plan to visit the shrine,” added Swain.

(Reported by Nilakantha Dora, OTV)