Bhubaneswar: Odisha High Court on Tuesday asked the State government to ensure completion of the chariot construction work for Puri Rath Yatra by June 22-2020 thereby allaying further apprehensions on the possibility of conduct of the annual festival amid Covid pandemic. The grand festival of Lord Jagannath and his siblings will be celebrated on June 23 this year.
Sources said, a bench comprising Odisha High Court Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice SK Mishra while hearing a PIL filed by a senior advocate of the HC, Jayanta Kumar Bal today asked Odisha government to complete the work as per stipulated time.
Court has ordered that the chariot construction work should be completed by June 22 so that the festival can be held without any deviation in tradition, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The petitioner had made the Centre, Odisha government’s archaeological department, State Chief Secretary, Secretary Home Department, DGP, Puri Collector, SJTA and Puri Gajapati parties in the case.
Responding to the court’s orders, State Advocate General appearing on behalf of the Odisha government has assured the court that since the construction of the chariots is in full swing, the work will be completed in due time.
It may be noted that due to nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of Covid pandemic, the construction work of all the three chariots of the Holy Trinity started almost 10 days after the scheduled date following lot of speculation. The big decision was taken after the Ministry of Home Affairs allowed Odisha government to commence the construction activity by duly complying with COVID-19 lockdown guidelines.
Sources said, the construction of fitting of hubs and spokes of the chariot wheels is underway at Ratha Khala in Puri. The government has already asked the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration to allow extra-hours for construction work to compensate the loss of time. The authorities have also put up a special arrangement for COVID-19 test of servitors engaged in chariot construction.