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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: While the pilgrim city of Puri famous for the Lord Jagannath Temple boasts of a vibrant and enticing beach mesmerising lakhs of tourists and devotees, the beach is being engulfed by litter and has become a safe haven for drunkards.

The case in point here is an under-construction park on Banki Muhan which has turned into an 'open bar.' As soon as dusk sets in drunkards throng this place to engage in the anti-social activities. Such unchecked notoriety has not only become a concern for the tourists, but has also turned the beach into a garbage dump littered with plastic, glass bottles and tinned cans.

Tourists who throng the beach have shown their displeasure from time to time and are very concerned about safety.

Restaurateurs and hotel owners nearby the beach allege that despite prevalence of such anti-social activity, police administration is mum.

"Youths drink alcohol in the open and even if we want to oppose them we fear that they may create nuisance. Police patrolling in the area is also erratic which is helping their cause," a hotel owner, Kuna Das said.

This is unacceptable at a place like Puri which is revered as a famous pilgrim city. People should feel safe and see that we care for our environment.
- Sarmistha, a tourist from West Bengal.

What is more shocking is that not only in Banki Muhan, but several other stretches on the sea beach from Digabareni Khunti to Swargadwar, Light House to Mangala Muhan have turned into camping grounds for the drunkards.

Meanwhile, Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi has assured that the matter will be looked into and checked through more patrolling and deployment of police officials.

Also Read: Dumping of tonnes of rice in Odisha sparks outrage

Assistant director of Tourism (Puri), Bijay Kumar Jena said most of the notoriety is being done by local residents, so we have decided to organise awareness programmes in the area. Puri beach is not only ours but belong to everyone who visits this famous city, so it is our prime responsibility to make it a safe and desirable, said Jena.

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