Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, July 13:
As many as 135 platoons of police personnel have arrived at Odisha’s Puri town ahead of the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra festival on Saturday. However, the security personnel are having a tough time dealing with the absence of basic amenities like drinking water and power supply at the temporary shelters provided to them.
Temporary shelters have been prepared at Mangalahat, Malatipatapur, Police Line High School, Convent School, Subhas Bose Square, Athletic Association and near SCS College Staff Colony to accommodate these security personnel, who include nearly 1000 officers and havildars.
These personnel have been reaching the pilgrim town in batches since Friday. However, the temporary accommodation provided to them doesn’t have adequate provision for drinking water and power supply.
Besides, the dharamshala (tourist houses) provided to the security personnel doesn’t have power supply and clean toilet facilities. They are spending sleepless nights owing to mosquito menace and unhygienic living conditions.
Central Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) Bikash Chandra Mohapatra took stock of the situation on Sunday. Mohapatra presided over a meeting attended by Soumendra Priyadarshi OSD, Nabakalebara, Puri District Collector Arvind Agarwal and other senior officials of various departments to discuss the preparedness, with less than a week to go.
“As many as 33 temporary shelters have been prepared in the city of which six have been allocated to the security personnel and 17 have been constructed for pilgrims. Drinking water, power supply, lavatory, fire safety measures, and other safety provisions have been made at each of these temporary shelter points. A nodal officer would be in-charge of it to ensure services to the occupants,” an officer said.
Notably, these temporary shelters have been divided into seven zones each of them supervised bu a zonal officer. In addition to this, a team manager would be appointed for better management of the affairs. The personnel would be appointed in two shifts—8 am to 8 pm and 8 pm to 8 am.
“The absence of these facilities would affect the morale of the personnel. They need adequate sleep and other facilities as they would be responsible for safety and security of lakhs of tourists expected to visit Puri during Nabakalbeara Rath Yatra,” an official said on condition of anonymity.
Each shelter is spread over 20,000 sq ft area in which safety and security of the pilgrims would be of prime importance. The police, fire, public health engineering organisation (PHEO), National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) authorities have been roped in to provide various services to the visitors. Separate toilets for males and females, mobile phone charging points, telephone service and CCTV surveillance for security of the tourist will be provided, sources said.