Mrunal Manmay Dash

With the Rath Yatra just a couple of months away, the Puri district administration has an uphill task in its hands to conduct it smoothly, especially amidst apprehensions that the ongoing Srimandir Parikrama Project may remain unfinished before Snana Purnima.

Broken roads, dug-up pavements, and stone chips scattered all over the place have reportedly made the life of daily commuters and tourists more difficult, triggering demands for the completion of project as soon as possible. The Heritage Corridor Project in Puri is turning out to be a headache & nightmare for the locals as well as tourists.

It is now feared that if the project is not finished before Snana Purnima, lakhs of devotees and tourists that would throng to the Puri town during Rath Yatra will return with a bitter experience.

“I am apprehensive about the completion of this project before Rath Yatra. Two stretches; from Gadanti Chhak to Dolabedi and from Kakudikhai Chhak to Gandua Choura Chhak, will pose problems for the movement of Chariots if the project is not completed well before the grand festival,” said Puri MLA, Jayant Sarangi.

“The government has to expedite the construction in order to conduct a smooth Rath Yatra this year,” he said.

Senior servitor, Rajat Kumar Pratihari said, “I urge the State government to complete the project work as soon as possible. They need to make the road robust too, otherwise, the Chariots will break down while being pulled.”

Some servitors have also expressed their fears that if the government tries to finish the work too quickly then the quality of the work may get compromised.

“The Chariots are too heavy. They used to dig up the old road while rolling. It remains to be seen if the new road laying work is strong enough to tackle the Chariots. The government needs to ensure that the Chariots are safely pulled to and from the Singhadwara during Rath Yatra and Bahuda Yatra,” said, senior servitor, Ramachandra Das Mohapatra.

However, the administration has allayed apprehensions about the completion of the project. Speaking to reporters after a Rath Yatra coordination meeting at the SJTA, Central ZoneRevenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Suresh Chandra Dalai said, “The Srimandir Parikrama Project is nearing completion and I am sure it will be finished before Snana Purnima."

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