Odisha to offer Rs.5 lakh insurance for Rath Yatra pilgrims

Bhubaneswar, July 14 (IANS) 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.

The SJTA has also decided to extend the accident insurance coverage for the visitors in Shri Jagannath Temple for one year, he added.

Besides, the servitors and employees of Shri Jagannath temple would also get insurance coverage for one year.

The government expects large congregation of devotees during the festival and throughout the Nabakalebar year. Last year, the insurance coverage was Rs.1 lakh.

Meanwhile, the government has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure smooth management of the festival.

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.

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