Odisha Channel Bureau
BHUBANESWAR: The annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath will be held in Puri on Tuesday without congregation of devotees in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Odisha government swung into action to conduct of the Rath Yatra after the Supreme Court on Monday modified its earlier order in which it had stayed the festival in Puri and other places in Odisha.
Modifying its June 18 order, Supreme Court allowed the Rath Yatra after taking note of the Odisha government’s stand that it can be held without public attendance.
The court further said that those engaged in pulling the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra shall maintain social distancing before, during and after Rath Yatra.
The apex court further ordered that each Rath be pulled by not more than 500 people and all of them to be tested for coronavirus. The State government should maintain record of persons allowed to take part in the Rath Yatra, the court ordered.
“Jai Jagannath”, tweeted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik soon after the Supreme Court modified its earlier allowing the conduct of the Rath Yatra.
Patnaik welcomed the apex court order and said all rituals relating to the Rath Yatra had been followed as per the tradition so far and government will take all measures for the smooth conduct of the festival.
Stating that conducting the Rath Yatra was a challenge in view of the pandemic, Patnaik expressed hope that the servitors and others who would be involved in conducting the Rath Yatra would strictly adhere to the guidelines in place to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a video message, the Chief Minister said that he has directed three of his Ministers to camp in Puri town till Niladri Bije to oversee the conduct of the Rath Yatra.
In order to ensure that there is no public gathering in Puri town, the administration has ordered complete shutdown in Puri from 9 pm on Monday to 2 pm on Wednesday.
Over 50 platoons of police personnel force will be deployed in Puri town for the s smooth conduct of the Rath Yatra.
Hon'ble CM Sri @Naveen_Odisha has directed Minister Law, Minister @HFWOdisha, Minister @SMEOdisha and Deputy Chairman, Planning Board to camp at Puri till Niladri Bije and supervise #RathaYatra. #JayJagannath pic.twitter.com/QwISCITPd3
— I & PR Department, Odisha (@IPR_Odisha) June 22, 2020
There was widespread resentment among the devotees of Lord Jagannath after the earlier order of the apex court staying the Rath Yatra in Puri and other parts of Odisha.
Meanwhile, the Information and Public Relations Department of the State government announced that people can watch Rath Yatra live on https://www.youtube.com/IPROdishalive on Tuesday.