Massive security arrangements are in place for a smooth conduct of Lord Jagannath’s annual Rath Yatra on July 12 in Odisha’s Puri amid strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. Like last year, the revered festival will be held without the participation of devotees in view of the Covid situation. The government has completely banned presence of people at the Grand Road in front of the 12th century shrine in Puri during the chariots procession. Chalking out a detailed security plan, the state police has deployed 65 platoons of force along with senior officers.
A day before the yatra, decorated chariots of Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra were positioned in ‘Bada Danda’ (Grand Road) in front of the 12th century Shree Jagannath Temple.
PURI’S RATH YATRA – 5 THINGS TO KNOW
- The entire city has been divided into 12 zones. Besides 65 platoons, 10 senior officers of additional SP rank have been deployed for the festival. Apart from providing security, police will also ensure proper enforcement of Covid-19 guidelines like social distancing and wearing masks.
- Only sevayats (servitors) testing negative for Covid-19 and who have been fully vaccinated would be allowed to participate in the pulling of the chariots.
- All hotels, dharamshalas and guest houses on the Grand Road have been asked not to allow any tourist or devotee. They have been directed to vacate all boarders and guests.
- Section 144 of CrPC has been clamped from 8 pm on Sunday and no shop or essential activity will be allowed on Grand Road. Only those with duty passes for Rath Yatra will be allowed.
- The Grand Road will be transformed into a gree zone for emergency services during the Rath Yatra. Fire fighting vehicles and ambulances can ply in the green zone.