Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Feb 19:
The Odisha government has drawn up a disaster management plan for averting disasters during the Nabakalebara Yatra of Lord Jagannath this year in view of the large inflow of tourists and devotees during the grand event, said sources in the state government.
The government has pegged the expected inflow of tourists and devotees during the event to be around 50 lakh or more.
The government has entrusted the Revenue and Disaster Management department with the responsibility of execution of the plan.
While officers of five departments will be included in the action committee for implementation of the plan, the additional chief secretary of the Revenue and Disaster Management department will be the chairman of the committee, said sources.
The blueprint of the plan has included issues like transportation of tourists, epidemic eradication and control, drinking water supply, safe bathing facilities for tourists and devotees in the sea and at different ponds associated with pilgrimage, an eye on terrorists, information management of accidents in different areas of the pilgrim city, health care services, uninterrupted power supply, robust security arrangements, traffic control, crowd control and prevention of stampedes.
The action committee targets for action on different issues using standard operating procedures (SOP). The committee will take steps for preventing stampedes and jams in peak crowd situations during the Nabakalebara . The committee will especially get ready necessary infrastructure in advance to prevent such situations.
Special steps are being taken by the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) for crowd control and management, traffic control, prevention of stampedes and thwarting possible terrorist threats and tackling of situation arising out of possible terror attacks.
Sources said operating procedure for prevention of possible terror attacks and quick striking plan in event of terror attack have been drawn up.
Preventive measures include security arrangements inside Shree Mandir, its four sides, security of chariots, and crowd control on the Grand Road.
Similarly, constant vigil will be kept on sea and air routes and special security arrangements inside and outside the Gundicha temple during the Rath Yatra . One senior police officer will be entrusted with responsibility in each of these departments. Specially trained security personnel and forces have been requisitioned for the purpose.
In view of the large crowd expected during the Nabakalebar, more number of officers from the intelligence wing, striking force, specially trained police in plain clothes will be deployed. For surveillance purposes more than 300 close circuit cameras will be installed in different locations of the city, said sources.
Sources said joint action force will be entrusted with the task of preventing road and rail mishaps and arrangements will be made for management of accidents. Requisite number of ambulances, rescue teams, earth moving machines like JCBs will be deployed in each and every route where there will be traffic movement during the grand event.
Operation theatres (OTs) at the district headquarters hospital and other hospitals will be renovated/refurbished and services of doctors will be made on 24 hour basis. Special stress has been laid on prevention and control of epidemics in the plan. The Health department has drawn a special plan for controlling spread of diarrhea, jaundice, fevers etc. during the Nabakalebara. In the period between Snana Purnima and Niladribije drinking water samples will be tested twice in a day. Squads will be formed for checking sale of adulterated and stale food by unscrupulous traders.
Safe bathing facilities will be developed on the beach for sea bathers and 300 life guards will be deployed on the beach also 1,000 fire-fighting personnel will be deployed on the beach and ponds associated with pilgrimage. Armed policemen will be stationed atop watch towers along the beach to maintain vigil. The beach will have a net barricade for preventing bathers from being swept away due to currents while bathing in the sea. Rescue teams will be equipped with boats and first aid facilities. Unsafe buildings in the city will be sealed before the Rath Yatra. Security men will be stationed atop buildings to monitor movements and possible security threats.
For drainage of rain/storm water from the city during the Nabakalebar Rath Yatra authorities of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Public Health Engineering Organisation (PHEO) and authorities of Puri Municipality will hold preparedness meeting and prepare an action plan.
About 10,000 volunteers including government officers will be deployed in crowd control and emergency services during the Nabakalebara.