BHUBANESWAR:With a day to go for the grandest religious event of the year, Nabakalebara Rath Yatra, the administration is working overtime to present a clean and a safe beach to pilgrims and tourists. Like the Grand Road, the venue of the fete, the beach will witness a large congregation from Rath Yatra on Saturday till Niladri Bije on July 30.
With lakhs of devotees expected for the fete, maintaining a clean beach will be a Herculean task. The Puri Municipality has put 90 large garbage bins along the beach which will be cleaned thrice in a day during the festival.
The municipality has also decided to deploy over 250 sweepers round-the-clock for cleaning the beach. There is a blanket ban on use of polythene on the beach.
With open defecation and littering being major concerns, the Culture Department has decided to organise folk dance shows daily during the period to create awareness among pilgrims and devotees on ‘Clean Sea Beach’. Every day, three performances will be held at two locations on the beach. Over 1500 toilet blocks have been set up at three temporary accommodations including one for police officers on the Model Beach side and a few more on the beach stretch near Loknath temple road.
Regional Officer of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) Hadibandhu Panigrahy said all hotels have been directed not to discharge any untreated sewerage into the sea. “Small sewerage treatment plants have been installed in some of the major hotels near the sea beach. The rest, which do not have such provision on their premises, have been directed to discharge their sewerage into the newly-built municipal drainage channels, he informed.
Tourist Officer, Puri Bijay Jena said around 350 lifeguards have already been deployed from Mayfair Hotel to the Loknath temple to ensure safety and security of tourists. “Besides, we have put up over 100 signages on the beach on safety measures that should be taken while entering the water,” he said, adding, lifeguards will camp on the beach round-the-clock from the Rath Yatra day to Niladri Bije. ODRAF personnel will also be stationed on the beach and the entire beach has been illuminated with LED and high-mast lights.