BHUBANESWAR: With a day left for Rath Yatra, the temple city is gearing up for the festival, in which devotees will take part after a gap of two years. Officials in Commissionerate Police said the Rath Yatra celebrations will be held at 54 places in the city.
While the use of mask has been mandated for the devotees in Puri in view of surge in Covid cases in the State, BMC officials said no such instruction has been received for the State Capital. Bhubaneswar Municipal Commissioner Vijay Amruta Kulange, however, said since a large gathering will be witnessed during the festival, they have appealed all devotees to follow Covid safety norms and wear mask to check transmission.
City DCP Prateek Singh said a coordination meeting has already been convened for smooth conduct of the festival at different places, especially Iskcon. “While we have 22 platoon of police force. Additional forces will be mobilised if required,” he said.
Management officials of different temples said the Civic body has assured smooth conduct of the festival, by ensuring drinking water, electricity, sanitation and tree-trimming activities ahead of the festival. Besides, dangling electric wires will be removed wherever needed for the smooth movement of chariots and public safety.
At Iskcon, where one of the major Rath Yatra takes place, the ‘Pahandi’ will start at around 11 am and the ‘Chherapahanra’ will be done at 2 pm. The Chariot pulling will start around 3 pm. “As we are expecting turnout of around 1 lakh devotees during the festival, we have sought support from the civic body and police to make the festival smooth.
As waterlogging in front of the temple is a major challenge, the BMC has assured us that pump sets will be commissioned in advance to drain out water in event of heavy rain,” said Iskcon State PRO Radhakanta Das. Apart from Iskcon, Rath Yatra will also be organised at Patiagarh, VSS Nagar, Old Town, Jagamara, Utkal University campus, RCM, Dumduma, Bhimatangi and other places.