"The Indian Coast Guard will keep a vigil in the sea while aviation authorities have been urged to ensure that no flights operate on the skies of Puri during the festival," said a senior police officer. Director General of Police (DGP) Prakash Mishra, however, has ruled out on any specific intelligence input regarding possible terrorist activities during the festival, which witnesses a congregation of lakhs of devotees.
A total of 104 platoons (one platoon comprises of 30 personnel) of police force, 1,000 officers of various ranks and 2,000 home guards would be deployed during the annual car festival of Lord Jagannath, said Inspector General of Police R P Koche. This apart, two companies of rapid action force and several tactical units would be pressed to counter any terror attack. While bomb detection and disposal units and SOG (special operation group) personnel would be on alert, Coast Guard vessels and its personnel would keep a vigil along the coastline.
About 300 trained nolias (life guards) would be deployed at the sea beach to prevent pilgrims from drowning while taking the holy dip. CCTV cameras would be installed in 28 locations along the Grand Road and other strategic places of pilgrim congregation, the officer said adding, senior police officers would monitor crowd movement from a central control room at the Town Police Station.
Puri SP Anup Sahoo said police check posts and aid centres would operate along the Puri-Bhubaneswar, Puri-Brahmagiri and Puri-Konark routes. In its bid to implement the High Court order which said devotees should not be allowed to climb on the chariots, around 55 platoons of armed police would be deployed around the three chariots during the pulling, Sahoo said. The DGP, special DGP Sanjib Marik and other senior officers have already reviewed security arrangements for the festival at Puri.