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Elaborate arrangements for Ashokashtami celebrations in city

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Reported by Santosh Jagdev

Bhubaneswar, Mar 22:

Commissionerate Police has put in place elaborate security arrangements to maintain law and order and manage the crowd during Ashokastami and Bahuda Yatra of Lord Lingaraj next month.

PRESS MEET OF THE CP OFFICE  (7)About 20 platoons of police force will be deployed to keep an eye on any criminal activities during the Ashokashtami celebrations, which is the capital city’s own version of the famous of Rath Yatra in Puri, though on a much smaller scale.

Bhubaneswar Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Nitinjeet Singh, assisted by ACPs and Inspectors, will supervise the deployment of forces at strategic locations, said Twin City Commissioner of Police (CP) Dr R P Sharma after a preparatory meeting for the festival at the Commissionerate headquarter here today.

Vehicular movement on all major routes leading to the 13th century shrine of Lord Lingaraj shrine would be controlled by the traffic department under the overall supervision of ACP, Traffic Bhubaneswar, Dr Sharma added.

The famous festival Ashokastami alias the Car festival of Lord Lingaraj will start on April 7 and will culminate on April 11.

“Since a large number of women are expected to take a bath in the Kedar Gouri pond as part of the ritual on the first day of the festival we have decided to press into service more security personnel near the pond to check eve-teasing and other women related crimes,” Dr Sharma said, directing BMC officials to install more lights around the premises of the pond.

“Taking the scorching summer into account, we have planned for adequate arrangements for drinking water and rest sheds for pilgrims to beat the heat during the five-day festival,” informed Khurda Collector Niranjan Sahu.

During the meeting, discussions were also held on early finish of the construction of the Car. This apart, departments like Health, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), Road and Buildings, GED, CESU, Transport, Fire-brigade, Information and broadcasting and social activists were directed to ensure the smooth and hassle-free celebration of this mega festival.

Installation of lights, repair of roads, painting the temple and its premises, arrangement of water tanks, emergency generator during power outages, setting up of information centres at strategic locations and availability of ambulance and fire fighting vehicles during emergencies were also discussed in the meeting.

The idol of Lord Lingaraj is carried on a decorated chariot from his abode in the Lingaraj Temple to the Rameswar temple (also known as Mausi Maa Temple) during the Car Festival.

The car will return to the Lingaraj temple after four days.