Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Nov 22:
Odisha Police will beef up security in and around the pilgrim town of Puri for the ensuing Nabakalebara festival scheduled next year.
Giving details about the security measures at a press briefing here on Friday, Puri SP Asish Kumar Singh said about 10,000 police and security forces would be deployed to ensure smooth conduct of Nabakalebar ritual and the Rath Yatra next year.
Around 50 lakh devotees are expected to throng Puri to witness the deities in their new bodies during Nabakalebara and the Rath Yatra next year.
Apart from this, 14 units of senior police personnel would be formed to provide security to the VVIPs, control crowd and traffic and look after other emergency services, the SP said. Bomb detection and disposal units, dog squads and intelligence gathering units would also be put in place, he said.
He said security personnel would keep a strict vigil on any suspicious movement in the sea, air and land routes.
It has been decided to deploy the Coast Guard to patrol the Puri coast while efforts are on to make the Puri air space a no-flying zone, Singh said.
Singh said there would be a three-tier security arrangements at the main temple, the Gundicha temple and around the three chariots during the Rath Yatra. The security personnel would keep an eye on suspicious movements from the watch towers built around the temple during the festival. A special contingency plan has been prepared to meet the terrorist challenge, he informed.
The SP said that luggage scanners would be installed at the temple main gate where the hand bags of pilgrims would be scanned and at the south gate through which food grains and rations enter the temple kitchen.
Besides, 200 more life guards would be added to the existing 100 personnel along the Puri beach from Chakratirth to Swargdwar to prevent drowning in the sea. Fourteen watch towers would be erected along the beach for surveillance of the pilgrims taking holy dip in the sea, he added.
The police would be provided with 10 PCR vans and 10 ambulances during the festival, Singh said, adding all the 16 unsafe buildings along the Grand Road would be demolished.
He said the entire 10-km long stretch of road from Maltipatpur bus stand to Puri would be illuminated while 150 CCTV cameras would be installed at various places in Puri town.
This apart, 32 CCTV cameras would be installed in the Jagannath temple for which two integrated CCTV control rooms would be made operational during the ritual.
While one control room at the Town Police Station would monitor the happenings in the city, the other at the Kumbharpada Police Station would monitor vehicular traffic movement.
The state government has sanctioned 50 trained police officers to man these control rooms, 25 for each control room, round the clock, the SP added.