Orissa begins massive preparation for ''Navakalebara" festival

Bhubaneswar, Feb 5 (PTI) Expecting a huge turn out ofdevotees at Puri for Lord Jagannath''s "Navakalebara" (changeof wooden body) in 2015, the Orissa government today decidedto take up steps for road widening, improvement of railservice and health facilities and security arrangement.

"As we expect a turn out of about 50 lakh peopleduring the Navakalebara festival, several measures need to betaken in advance," chief administrator of Sri JagannathTemple, P K Mohapatra told reporters after Chief MinisterNaveen Patnaik reviewed preparedness for the festival.

The government is also taking measures to tightensecurity during the festival in view of intelligence inputs onpossible terrorist activities in Puri, Mohapatra said.

The Navakalebara festival was last held in 1996,Mohapatra said adding more than 20 lakh people had visitedthe holy town then.

In a bid to ensure smooth movement of vehicles duringthe festival, the state government had asked National HighwayAuthority of India (NHAI) to complete four laning of the roadbetween Bhubaneswar and Puri by October, 2013.

The work for the four laning roads would start nextmonth, he said.

As a measure to control to traffic and provide lodgingfor tourists, the state government decided to prepare acomprehensive mobility plan. Though there were 20,000 beds inthe hotels of Puri, the government decided to set up temporarytents and toilets.

This apart, the government also issued direction todifferent departments to make adequate arrangements for thefestival.

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