Puri: Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the massive surge of positive cases in the past few weeks, as per the decision of the district administration from today construction of chariots for the world-famous annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings began in a bio-secure environment or bio-bubble to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The ‘Ratha Khala’-the construction site of the chariots on the Badadanda or Grand Road has been declared as a prohibited zone. Only authorised persons are allowed into the Ratha Khala. Only those sevayats (servitors) who have tested negative for Covid-19 and are in isolation are engaged in the construction of the chariots.
“In simple words, only authorised personnel those who are in bio-bubble can get there. No other person can come in close proximity with them. This decision was taken after a detailed meeting between the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), district administration and police administration. Police will ensure that unauthorised persons who are not in bio-bubble are not allowed to violate,” informed Puri SP Kanwar Vishal Singh.
Puri Collector and Deputy Chief Administrator Samarth Verma informed that they are adhering to all milestones.
“A total of 79 Ratha Khala sevayats are engaged in various work. Out of them 30 sevayats each are from Maharana and Bhoi, 4 are Karti sevayats, 12 Kamara sevayats and 3 are other sevayats. All those who are engaged in the Ratha Khala have taken their first dose of Covid vaccination,” informed Verma.
Verma said all Ratha Khala sevayats are tested and only upon finding them to be negative for Covid they are engaged in the construction of the chariots.
These sevayats are kept in isolation, he added.
The Collector said that those who test positive for Covid are sent to Covid Care Centre for treatment.
He informed that all the 18 sevayats who have tested positive for Covid are undergoing treatment at different facilities.