Security to be enhanced at Jagannath temple

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary B K Patnaik and attended by home secretary, director general of police and chief administrator of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

"Besides augmenting security in the temple, the meeting also decided to create space outside the shrine to prevent stampede during festivals," said SJTA chief administrator P K Mohapatra.

The meeting also discussed the recommendation of the member of Board of Revenue (BoR) on the 2008 stampede in which at least six devotees were killed during car festival.
BoR in its report had suggested the state government to create enough space outside the temple premises in order to avoid a stampede like situation in the future.

Gearing up for a mega event like "Nabakalebara" festival (change of wooden bodies of the trinity - Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra) in 2015 and expecting flow of about one crore devotees to Puri from across the country, the state government decided to acquire some ancient "Matths" and old buildings close to the shrine.
Properties to be acquired include 12 old buildings declared unsafe near the temple before "Nabakalebara", Mohapatra said adding the areas from the Lion Gate to the King's Palace is to be declared no-parking zone for security.

Besides, it was also decided to relocate statue of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Dash and office of the information and public relations department from near the temple.
To augment security, it was also decided to erect four watch towers at different corners of the temple, Mohapatra said adding that the district administration and police has been asked to implement the decisions.

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