Securing The Chariot Festival: Puri is Safe

“Rath Yatra” – The holy Car Festival of Puri in its present form dates back at least a thousand years. Everything is on a grand scale. Full of spectacle, drama and colour, its a typical Indian fair. It’s also the embodiment of the synthesis of the tribal with the classical. One glimpse of the Lord is said to release one from the cycle of birth and death. The etymology of juggernaut originates from the chariots — in a way its true – an unstoppable force – of belief, piety, fervour that rolls on – transcending time and distance. Puri “Rath Yatra” has been celebrated in the city since times memorial. It is observed on the 2nd day of the full-moon fortnight in the month of June – July. This year the Car festival will be observed from 12th of July 2010 to till 23rd July 2010. The main car festival is on 13th July’ 2010 on Tuesday.

Off late Orissa has been subject to a lot of naxal violence – sparking off fears that the famous Rath Yatra – The Chariot Festival of Lord Jagannath could fall prey to it. Threat perception has always been high for the temple. It has been recommended level one security arrangements since 2004. Since then two Special Armed Police platoons are deployed at each of the four temple gates round the clock, complete with metal detectors and manual frisking. A “quick reaction team” is ready 24X7 to meet emergencies.

 The Lord Jagannath temple administration has security of its own and some 77 of them are deployed inside the temple premises to look after temple security, safety of visitors and maintenance of order. The Puri district administration has already undertaken survey of buildings around the Jagannath temple and henceforth – till the day after the return from Gundicha temple they will be under constant vigil. Resorts, Hotels, lodges and dharamsalas in the temple town are periodically checked by the district police for suspected maoists. Such a recent raid landed a couple of underground naxals in the security net although the Government has neither confirmed nor denied reports.

The state government, has sealed its borders with Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to avoid entry of ultras from the neighbouring states and currently some 5000 paramilitary forces are about to engage Maoists. “Rath Yatra” is THE most important festival of Orissa and the Orissa government is aware about the threat and is planning for any eventualities.

More than 6000 police and rapid action forces will be on duty during the Rath Yatra in July 13th 2010. The Coast guard has been specially directed to guard against any attack from the sea route. Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has recently reviewed security arrangements personally. He has directed the Naxal-infested districts to keep a closer vigilance. In a two pronged strategy the government is beefing up security in no-Maoist zones.

A high-level review meeting was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary to assess the security cordon around the Shree Jagannath temple in Puri. It was decided that all the existing Close Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) installed in the premises of the temple would be upgraded. Additional places for installing CCTVs inside and outside the Shree Jagannath temple were identified. It was also decided that all hotels in Puri would come under a security cover and the Puri sea beach would be a strictly ‘zero tolerance’ zone for anything remotely suspicious. 

It will be safe for pilgrims, devotees, tourist, travelers, photographers, journalist and common man coming to witness and participate in the holy carnival “Rath Yatra” – The Car Festival.

Puri Sea Beach : Keep it Clean

Everyone can make a difference to the amount of litter in the environment

When you think of Goa, what can you think of? Endless beaches, tourists basking under the sun, children playing in the sand, spicy seafood, amazing water games… what probably don’t come to our minds are the mounds of mounds of plastic waste and rotting garbage?

Trash on beaches

The human-created, foreign matter like plastics, metal, glass, Styrofoam, etc. are what actually is called trash. Since animals often mistake these trash items as food, please remember to pick up even small pieces of trash, which should ideally go into our Trash bags and then, into the recycle bags.

Glass, aluminum cans, tin cans, plastic drinking bottles can be recycled. These items must be clean and dry.

There are other trash items that we might discover while enjoying ourselves on the beaches. These could include syringes, needles, any sharp objects, condoms, tampons, waste materials, weapons, heavy items, or anything of which we are not sure. These items are not to be touched. The best we can do is mark such areas with sticks and stones so that others could also stay away and finally inform the beach captains or lifeguards. When in doubt, don’t touch.

Trash to be left alone

Natural items (such as algae, kelp, driftwood, shells, etc.) are part of the ecosystem system that we are working to restore and should be, at the best, left alone. So lets avoid disturbing plants, animals and fragile dune areas.

Beach clean up

A day at the beach is a fun summer activity, but no one wants to share the sun with discarded cans, bottles and other trash left behind by thoughtless beach visitors. Let us all  help protect the environment and keep the beach a fun place to be when we organize a beach clean up day.

Let us support a healthy environment. Gather a group of friends together for a beach clean up day at your local beach. Help the environment even more by carpooling to the beach together in one or two vehicles rather than having everyone drive separately.

Brush the beach by collecting trash. Consider putting all the cans and bottles you come across in separate bags for recycling. If you find hazardous items such as needles, be sure not to pick them up with your bare hands. Bury any large deposits of seaweed.

Toshali Sands along with Orissa Tourism and Forest Department has set an example at Balighai Beach. Toshali is striving with a mission to Keep Puri beach clean for the incoming guest, devotees, pilgrims, journalists, travelers, and locals.

Clean and Well maintained Balighai Beach at Puri is an effort by Toshali Sands along with Orissa Tourism and Forest Department
Clean and Well maintained Balighai Beach at Puri is an effort by Toshali Sands along with Orissa Tourism and Forest Department

Therefore, Toshali appeals all to join hand in spreading message of Self-Help to everyone to be the part of the movement to keep Puri beach clean. Are your there !!! this is not merely a blog, we invite you to start conversation and draw attention of all the people concern to drive the cause.

Visit our Facebook Cause Page http://bit.ly/at0MJ7 And “Puri Beach : Keep Me Clean” Group for the cause at http://bit.ly/9911Mw