Odisha Police to deploy 180 platoons, 1,000 officials for Rath Yatra

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In an aim to ensure safe conduct of the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, 180 platoons of police and over 1,000 officials would be deployed in and around Puri during the festival, Odisha DGP Sunil Bansal said on Monday.

As the public will be allowed to witness the Rath Yatra after a gap of two years, lakhs of devotees are likely to visit the pilgrim town this year. Adequate number of police personnel is being mobilised in the town so that the devotees can have safe darshan of the deities, he said after holding a meeting to review security arrangements for the festival.

As the Jagannath temple in Puri is classified as a category-A temple as terrorist threat are concerned, anti-sabotage and metal detector checks will be put in place near the temple and the chariots, he said.

Bomb disposal squad, anti-terrorist squad and special tactical units will be deployed at strategic locations in the town, said a police official.

For smooth flow of traffic, Puri town has been divided into 10 zones and 29 sectors. Adequate parking facilities have been made for two-wheelers and four-wheelers, he said.

Patrolling will be done till 12 nautical miles in sea and the Indian Coast Guard has been asked to remain on alert during the Rath Yatra, the official added.

Meanwhile, state Health Minister Naba Kishore Das has appealed to people with symptoms like cold, cough and fever, not to visit Puri during the festival.

Das said that about 10 lakh face masks will be distributed through Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OSMCL) to the devotees. Arrangements will be made for rapid antigen tests, if someone develops any Covid-19 symptoms.

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