BHUBANESWAR: As Pilgrim Town Puri witnessed an unprecedented footfall for the millennium’s first ever Nabakalebara Rath Yatra, the State administration had its work cut out to put the infrastructure in place for the lakhs who were expected to throng the grand religious event.
Apart from road connectivity, sanitation and drainage systems, a big task was to accommodate the pilgrims from nook and cranny of the State as well as outside. It took multiple agencies and a long chain of command to ensure that the Nabakalebara Villages are in order when the day comes. The State Government had set up 33 such temporary accommodations for one lakh people but the actual occupancy almost hit the double mark.
How did it happen? Secretary, Tourism Arvind Padhee has a social media success story to share. “Because so many agencies and their people were involved, we had Nabakalebara WhatsApp groups where officers - from the top to bottom - were members. I was member of at least 10 such WhatsApp groups,” says Padhee.
Starting from senior IAS and IPS officers till engineers working in the ground level, the WhatsApp groups kept the members updated about the progress of the works. Most would even share pictures and details on a daily basis.
“This way, we not only passed on information and instructions quickly, we also made modifications whenever possible so that work was expedited,” Padhee said.