Rath Yatra: Special measures planned on health, sanitation

Puri: The first preparatory meeting for this year’s Rath Yatra, which was held here on Saturday, decided to take special measures for health and sanitation activities in the city.

Briefing newsmen after presiding over the meeting, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Central, AB Ota said the meeting had a discussion on 17-18 subjects.

“Basically, we discussed the preparedness required for the mega festival. After getting suggestions from the temple servitors, the media and the people, we have conducted meetings with all line departments and fixed the date for completion of work. We hope that all pending works would be finished well before the commencement of the festival,” he added.

He further said he will visit the peripheral areas of the temple and discuss with the locals the works which are yet to be completed. “After interacting with them, I will give necessary instructions to the concerned line departments to complete the work at the earliest,” he said.

The RDC also said since health and sanitation activities are the two most important issues that need to be dealt properly during the festival, he has asked the concerned departments to prepare a separate action plan within a week on the basis of which works will be taken up on priority.

Puri MLA and chairman of Nabakalebara Infrastructure Supervision Committee (NISC), Maheswar Mohanty said the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra was conducted smoothly last year. This year too, the grand festival of the Lords will be held peacefully with the cooperation of the people, the temple administration, the district administration and the State Police.

Asked whether the infrastructure development works, which could not be completed during the Rath Yatra last year, will be completed before the festivity this year, he said work on these pending projects is on and it will pose no problem for the festival.

Puri MP Pinaki Mishra, who was present at the meeting, told media persons that there will be three preparatory meetings for the Rath Yatra after which the chief minister will preside over another preparatory meeting.

“Like the last year, the Rath Yatra will be conducted peacefully this year by the grace of the God,” he added.

He also sought the cooperation of the media for successful conduct of the grand festivity.

Asked about the unfinished work of the pending projects, which had begun before the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra last year, he said the work on the ongoing projects is underway. But it will not pose any problem for the Rath Yatra this year.

It was revealed at the meeting that the Nayagarh Forest Range has provided 723 logs of Asana, Dhaura and Phasi measuring 13,040 cubic feet to the temple administration for construction of chariots.

The temple administrator (Niti) said the temple administration would purchase 1658 metres of clothes for the chariots.

Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) JK Samantray said 30 Ambulance vans would be pressed into service to provide emergency health services to the devotees during the festival. For the first time, the Health department has decided to open first aid centres in pucca houses at various places along the Bhubaneswar-Puri National Highways.

“To accommodate more patients, steps have been taken to open 50 additional beds in the District Headquarters hospital while special measures have been taken to provide necessary amenities in all Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs) along the National Highways,” he informed.

To maintain law and order during the festival, Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi said 130 platoons of police would be deployed while emphasis will be given on ensuring smooth flow of traffic.