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Rukuna Rath Yatra Of Lord Lingaraj To Be Observed Without Public Participation

Bhubaneswar: The famous Rukuna Rath Yatra, the annual chariot festival of Lord Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar, which is scheduled for April 20 this year will be pulled without the participation of devotees in order to prevent social gathering amid the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in the Capital City of Odisha.

Only the servitors of the shrine, police personnel and district administration officials are allowed to remain present during the chariot festival.

A blueprint detailing the modalities for the festival has been prepared in a meeting chaired by BMC Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhary on Thursday. Representatives of the four Nijogs of the shrine, temple committee, police and district administrations and BMC officials were present in the meeting.

Last year, although the construction of the chariot was almost over, the State Government had cancelled the festival in view of the 21-day nationwide lockdown following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have requested the BMC to grant permission for Rukuna Rath Yatra which would uphold the legacy of Lord Lingaraj. The BMC will send the proposal to the State Government. Only 20-25 servitors will be present on the chariot. The Rath Yatra will be a two-day affair instead of five days and devotees will not be allowed to gather. The chariot will be pulled by police personnel or the servitors,” said Secretary of Brahman Nijog, Biranchi Narayan Pati after the meeting with the BMC Commissioner.

“A preparatory meeting on the conduct of Rukuna Rath Yatra was held between the BMC officials and Sevayat Nijogs. We discussed the ways the festival can be observed without the participation of devotees and in adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour. The BMC Commissioner has told us that the proposal will be sent to the State Government,” said Secretary of Badu Nijog Kamalakanta Badu.

BMC Additional Commissioner Laxmikant Sethi informed, “We have prepared a blueprint on timing of the rituals, RT-PCR tests of the people including servitors who will attend the festival, social distancing, use of sanitizer and masks, sanitisation of the chariot and other arrangements. The blueprint will be submitted to the State government following which the final decision regarding the conduct of the festival will be taken,” added Sethi.

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