Bhubaneswar: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday requested people to celebrate annual Rath Yatra while observing social distancing norms and adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.
In a video message, the Chief Minister said, “We have to celebrate the Rath Yatra while keeping in view the public health. Now the whole world will be watching us. We have to set an example for the world by showing how the rituals of the deities are performed while adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.”
The Chief Minister directed the Law Minister, Health Minister, School and Mass Education Minister and Deputy Chairman of Planning Board to camp at Puri till Niladri Bije and supervise Rath Yatra.
Patnaik appealed to the people of Puri district to obey the COVID-19 guidelines and ensure safety of themselves and their family members.
He said the State government and Shri Jagannath Temple Administration are fully prepared for the Rath Yatra. Also, he thanked servitors for timely completion of the rituals so far.
Chief Secretary and DGP are already present in Puri town to supervise arrangements for the annual fete.
He also expressed gratitude to the Supreme Court for allowing conduct of Rath Yatra and thanked the Centre for its support.
The State government announced a curfew like shutdown in Puri district from 9 pm today till 2 pm on June 24. No passenger train and private or public buses other than those carrying personnel on Government duty/ police and vehicles on emergency services will be allowed entry into the jurisdiction of Puri district.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court allowed the Odisha government to conduct Rath Yatra sans devotees.