280 doctors, 650 paramedics for Puri Rath Yatra

Bhubaneswar, June 29 (IANS) The Odisha government on Monday announced that a team of 280 doctors and 650 paramedics will be pressed into service during the Puri Rath Yatra.

This will be the first Rath Yatra after the Nabakalebar (exchange of soul substance from the old idols to the new ones) of Lord Jagannath and his siblings at Shree Jagannath temple. The car festival, transporting the deities, would take place on July 18.

“Instructions have been given to these doctors and para-medical staff to join their duty in Puri from July 1 and stay till August. The health department would initiate departmental proceedings if they fail to join their duty in time,” Health and Family Welfare Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak told the media here.

“The state government has also taken a tough stand against sanctioning leave of absence to doctors during the period. No doctor will be allowed leave. In case of an emergency, concerned leave applicant doctor has to seek approval of the health secretary,” the minister added.

He said steps have been taken to rectify the shortage of doctors in the rural and urban hospitals in the state as many doctors would be deployed in the holy town.

With the controversy over the mismanagement during the Nabakalebara festival refusing to die down, the state government on Monday entrusted additional charge to the IG, (Operations), Soumendra Kumar Priyadarshi, as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) for the festival.

Priyadarshi had been in-charge of Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra twice earlier. The state government expects about 50 lakh devotees during the Nabakalebar festival.

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