Heavy security arrangements in Puri for Rath Yatra

Lakhs of devotees from different corners of the country and outside are expected to congregate in the popular coastal town to witness and participate in the nine-day long colourful festival. PTI file photo

Heavy security arrangements have been made in the Odisha temple town of Puri for the world famous Rath Yatra or the Car Festival which will be flagged off on Thursday. Lakhs of devotees from different corners of the country and outside are expected to congregate in the popular coastal town to witness and participate in the nine-day long colourful festival.

Sources in the state home department on Wednesday said that as many as 155 platoons of armed police will be deployed in Puri for the important festival. They will be led by around 800 police officers of different ranks. Two very senior police officers in the rank of additional director general(ADG) and five in the rank of Inspector General(IG) will be present in the town to supervise the security arrangements.

Apart from the general police, 2450 home guards, three companies of rapid action force(RAF), two unit of ODRAF(Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force), one unit of NDRF(National Disaster Response Force), three companies of Odisha State Armed Forces(OSAF) and a bomb disposal squad with sniffer dogs will be stationed in the temple town. Three anti-terrorist check posts would also be made functional in the town.

During the entire festival period, the Puri coastline will be guarded and patrolled by vessels of the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard.

The well decorated wooden chariots of the three deities – Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra – are already parked and ready for pulling on the Bada Danda or the Grand Road in front of the main Puri temple. The three Raths are also being guarded by armed police.

Extra efforts had to be taken by the administration on every front for this year’s Rath Yatra because of Fani, the very severe cyclonic storm that had its landfall in the Odisha temple town causing large-scale damage and destruction.

The entire top brass of the Odisha administration including Governor Ganeshi Lal and chief minister Naveen Patnaik besides his cabinet colleagues are expected to be present in Puri on Wednesday for the grand festival.                             

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