Odisha Chief Minister Naveen
Patnaik called upon all to adhere to the Supreme Court's order and COVID-19 guidelines to make the return journey of Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra at Puri successful as the whole world is watching the historic event amid the pandemic.
Patnaik, who on Friday reviewed the preparations for the Bahuda Yatra (return car festival) of the divine siblings scheduled on July 1, congratulated the servitors of the 12th century shrine, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration, Health department, police and Puri district administration for ensuring a hassle-free Rath Yatra amid COVID-19 curbs on June 23.
The chief minister specially thanked the residents of the seaside pilgrim town of Puri for cooperating with the government and maintaining utmost restraint in order to make the Rath Yatra a big success on June 23. "I would like the return journey of the Lords and other rituals to be organised in the same spirit," he said.
Urging the servitors to complete all the rituals on time, the chief minister also asked the temple and district administration to strictly ensure that only those who have tested negative for COVID-19 are allowed to participate in the rituals and chariot pulling on Bahuda Yatra.
Emphasising on the need for proactive steps to implement curfew and lockdown, the chief minister also called upon the police to do their job with a human face.
"As I said earlier, the whole world is watching us following the Supreme Court's order on holding the Rath Yatra with restrictions. We must put in our best efforts and ensure that all precautions are taken during Bahuda Yatra," Patnaik said.
Aggressive surveillance should be undertaken for COVID-19 symptoms and Coronavirus testing must be enhanced, the chief minister said, adding that volunteers can be engaged for community mobilisation in creating awareness among people.
Patnaik said the state Information and Public Relations department should ensure live telecast of Bahuda Yatra and other rituals like Suna Besa, Aadhar Pana and Niladri Bije of the Lords to enable the people to watch the proceedings at home as they will not be allowed to visit Puri.
The Supreme Court had on June 22 granted permission for holding the Rath Yatra by a limited number of servitors amid several restrictions without public attendance in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
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