Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, June 29:
In the run up to the grand Nabakalebara Rath Yatra of the presiding deities of Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s holy city Puri to be held on July 18, a meeting held on micro level planning on Sunday decided to completely ban distribution of food on the Grand Road from the Lion’s Gate to Marichikote.
The meeting chaired by Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central) Bikash Mohapatra however, decided to distribute only drinking water with sufficient quantities of glucose D to keep the devotees fresh.
Devotees will be sprinkled with cool water to beat the heat during the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra and the district unit of the Red Cross will purchase 100 units of water sprinklers for the purpose while assistance for procuring another 100 units will be provided by voluntary agencies.
The meeting decided to hand over charge of the temporary shelters being constructed to house one lakh devotees during the Nabakalebara festival to volunteers.
While NGOs submitted the list of names of their nodal officers at the meeting, the chief district medical officer (CDMO) and executive officer of the Puri Municipality failed to submit their list. Expressing concern, Mohapatra directed the authorities to submit their lists latest by July 3.
Sanitation workers, men to be engaged in distribution of drinking water to devotees and visitors, lifeguards deployed at the beach and men to be engaged in distribution of glucose D during the Nabakalebara festival will be provided with special jackets for easy identification, the meeting decided.
The RDC (Central) ordered quality check of drinking water at the pouch drinking water manufacturing units at Brahmapur, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Roukela.
Temporary shelters for stay of women volunteers during the Nabakalebara festival have been constructed at the SCS College campus. Women volunteers will be provided with free lodging and free food here with adequate security arrangements for them.
Close vigil will be kept on the Grand Road and sea beach area during the Nabakalebara festival as temporary shelters for 20,000 devotees have been built at the sea beach.
While 100 lifeguards are deployed round the clock in the sea beach area, 300 more will be deployed during the Nabakalebara festival, sources said. Wire mesh will be installed in the beach for safe bathing of devotees/tourists.
Sources said agreements have been signed with 39 organizations and individuals for distribution of food during the Nabakalebara. However, they will be allowed to distribute their food only after its quality is checked.
Only government ambulances will be deployed on the Grand Road for providing emergency healthcare to devotees while 63 other ambulances will be stationed outside Puri city.
Besides, 30 mini buses of the state-owned OSRTC will ferry visitors between Malatipatapur bus stand and Puri and vice versa for free. The government will bear a burden of Rs 40 lakh for the purpose, it was revealed at the meeting.