The State Government has decided to widen all the major roads leading to Puri before Nabakalebar festival of Lord Jagannath in 2015.
Widening of the roads leading to Puri, upgradation of roads inside the town, steps to ensure drinking water, sanitation and health facilities for the pilgrims during the festival was discussed at a high-level meeting presided by Chief Secretary JK Mohapatra here on Saturday. A special cell has already been set up in the Works Department to monitor the timely completion of the road projects which will be implemented at an estimated cost of `660 crore.
Official sources said around 50 lakh devotees and tourists are likely to visit Puri during the grand festival. Roads from Birapratapur to Jankia, Gop to Balighai, Phulnakhara to Gop, Pipili to Khurda via Jatni and Harekrushnapur to Baliguali will be four-laned.
It was decided at the meeting to develop parking lots for vehicles at Baliguali, Malatipur and Sipasarubali to accommodate a large number of vehicles. The Puri administration has been asked to set up temporary as well as permanent parking lots within the town to ease vehicular traffic.
An assessment of existing boarding facilities in and around Puri town including dharmashalas and private guest houses will be made by the Tourism department jointly with the district administration and the temple administration.
The Government has also decided to renovate the dharmasalas managed by the Lodging Housing Fund (LHF) and create additional lodging facility to accommodate more pilgrims during the Nabakalebar festival.
The Chief Secretary also asked the district administration to draw up a plan well in advance to meet the exigencies. Construction of intensive care unit (ICU) in the district headquarters hospital has been completed. Trauma care centre in the district hospital and renovation of the Konark primary health centre will be completed by 2014.
While new sub-stations are being planned at Puri and Konark, the Energy Department was asked to give necessary instruction to the central electricity utility for replacing the overhead low transmission line on Badadanda with underground cabling.
A comprehensive movement plan will be chalked out for crowd management to avoid stampede and plans are afoot to put up mega screens at different locations on the Grand Road for watching the rituals of the car festival.