The Odisha government has decided to include all devotees, temple servitors and government employees during Nabakalebara Rath Yatra under accidental insurance cover of Rs.5 lakh each, an official said on Tuesday.
The Nabakalebara Rath Yatra is scheduled to be held on July 18 and the government is expecting a footfall of at least 50 lakh devotees in Puri.
“In case any devotee, temple servitor or employee and government employee dies unnatural death due to terrorist attack, building collapse, stampede and drowning in and around Sri Gundicha temple and areas coming under Puri Municipality, the next of kin would be provided with Rs.5 lakh each,” Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra told media persons on Tuesday.
Mohapatra said the SJTA has an agreement with the New India Assurance company for providing insurance coverage to those visiting or staying in Puri.
The insurance cover would remain valid from ‘Netrotsav’ (July 17) to ‘Niladri Vije’ (July 30) of Lord Jagannath and His siblings.
Puri has been kept on a five-layered security cordon. The Bada Danda (grand road) – where the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra roll on to their way to Mausima Temple (aunt’s temple) – has been divided into 14 security zones.
More than 200 close circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been fitted across the city with an integrated surveillance control room near the Jagannath Temple to keep a close watch on the happenings.
More than 2000 volunteers from nearly 70 non-governmental organizations will help the administration and police officials to ensure that the tourists do not face any problem during the festival. The administration has kept 250 doctors, over 900 paramedic staff, 30 ambulances and 30 temporary first aid centres at its disposal to cater to the pilgrims.
The biggest headache for the administration, however, is the faulty sewerage system of Puri chocks water outflow to deluge the town even with a drizzle.
Renovation of the sewerage system at a cost of Rs.80.45 crore over an area of 16.84 sq km area of the town was taken up over a year ago. It is not yet complete, with heaps of drainage wastes seen at several places. The administration has kept 14 5-horse power pipes to draw out the water from the Bada Danda.
Around 9,000 police personnel would be deployed during the Rath Yatra. Besides, the dilapidated buildings have been demolished.
Also, 2,000 civil defence volunteers, 80 fire fighting vehicles, 100 home guards will be deployed along the seashore.