PURI: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed officials concerned for smooth conduct of the annual Rath Yatra and other rituals such as Bahuda Yatra and Suna Besha in Puri. Naveen, who was here on Saturday to review the final Rath Yatra preparations meeting, also asked officials of different line departments to ensure provision of all civic amenities to devotees, who would arrive in Puri to witness the mega fete. This year, Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and His siblings Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra will be celebrated on June 25.
While Collector Arvind Agarwal apprised the Chief Minister about various works being undertaken for the festival, temple administrator P K Jena assured him that construction of the chariots will be completed before the fete and observance of rituals of deities as per the scheduled time. Issues like continuous supply of power, drinking water, essential commodities and illumination of the city were also discussed.
The Chief District Medical Officer said this year two heat stroke treatment centres would operate near the Lions Gate of the temple. An additional 77 beds have been added to the District Headquarters Hospital and 136 doctors have been deployed in the hospital. Additional medical staff have been deployed in PHCs and CHCs located along the routes to Puri.
As many as 186 special trains would ply to Puri during the festival while 36 ticket booking counters would be opened by the ECoR at Puri railway station. More ticket booking counters would be opened at Paradip, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Keonjhar and other stations en route to Puri. CCTVs will be installed in all the railway stations.
SP Sarthak Sarangi said that 125 platoons of police personnel, besides hundreds of officers of various ranks, Rapid Action Force, SOG battalions and 2,400 home guards would be deployed for the smooth conduct of the fete. Prior to the meeting, police rounded up 50 BJP, Congress and Sachetan Nagarik Manch activists from various places while they were trying to stage black flag demonstration during the visit of the Chief Minister.
CM inaugurates jail building
Later in the day, the Chief Minister inaugurated the new district jail building, located near Gadbangar village along Puri-Konark Marine Drive road, 20 km away from Puri. The building has been constructed at the cost of `10 crore. Spread over 25 acres of land, the new two-storey building can house 480 prisoners and is equipped with state-of-the-art security systems and video conferencing facility. It also has a 20-bed hospital and staff quarters.
The present district jail, spread over an area of six acres, is unable to accommodate the increasing number of prisoners and has no space for expansion. Sources said inmates from district jail will soon be shifted to the new jail.