Puri expecting 25 lakh footfall during Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra festival: SJTA chief administrator

Puri (Odisha) The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration is expecting a footfall of about 25 lakh people during the world-famous Puri Rath Yatra festival of Lord Jagannath, an official said.

The rath yatra festival will begin on June 20.

This was stated by SJTA Chief Administrator Ranjan Kumar Das.

Talking to PTI, Das said the administration was optimistic about conducting the mega festival smoothly.

“We are expecting a congregation of about 10 lakh people at Puri on ‘Sri Gundicha Day’ on June 20, during which chariots will be pulled by devotees,” he said.

Stating that the rath yatra festival also includes Bahuda (return car festival), Suna Bhesa (golden attire of deities) and Niladri Bije (return to main temple), Das said: “In total, around 25 lakh people are expected to join the rath yatra festival.” The chief administrator said, “Special arrangements are being made in view of the prevailing hot and humid conditions in Puri.” Das said adequate drinking water provisions are being made for devotees and special wards are created in Puri Hospital for treatment of heat-affected patients.

He said that above 180 platoons (1 platoon comprise 30 personnel) of police of both the state and central government have been deployed to look after the law and order, crowd management and other such things.

He said personnel of Rapid Action Force (RAF), ODRAF, NDRF and other personnel are engaged in the rath yatra festival. A green corridor is created to evacuate patients from the crowd to the hospital The chief administrator said Odisha government departments such as health, police and urban development are busy making arrangements for the mega event.

Asked whether he was nervous keeping in view the sensitivity of the festival and the large congregation, Das said he “is confident of conducting a smooth festival with blessings of the Lord.” “Rather, I feel blessed to get such a responsibility with the blessings of Lord Jagannath. The Lord himself is with us and He will help us conduct a smooth rath yatra,” Das said, adding that a team of officials of Puri district administration and the state government are assisting him