**Puri:** Issues of poor condition of health and sanitation facilities in Puri rocked the third coordination committee meeting for the upcoming Rath Yatra held under the chairmanship of Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty on the premises of Gopabandhu Ayurveda College here today.
Adding to the woes, neither the Executive Officer of Puri Municipality nor the Councillors were present in the meeting to address the issues.
However, a Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development department will be given independent responsibility by Housing and Urban Development Minister Niranjan Pujari to improve the sanitation facility in Puri ahead of the Rath Yatra.
“Third coordination committee meeting for the Ghosa Yatra of Lord Jagannath was held today in presence of Housing and Urban Development Minister, Energy Minister and various dignitaries. Fruitful discussion was held over various issues including health, water and power supply, repair of roads and security arrangements. Officers have been appointed to take stock of the pending works. Besides, we will take stock of the situation seven days prior to Rath Yatra and take steps to address the unresolved issues,” said the Revenue Minister.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Niranjan Pujari said, “The Revenue Minister has categorically said one senior officer will arrive to take stock of sanitation system. I will send a deputy secretary level officer for the purpose and personally review the work nearly five days prior to the Rath Yatra.”
“DGP has already conducted two meetings regarding the security arrangements for the Rath Yatra. First rehearsal will be held during Snana Purnima and I will personally look after the arrangements. We have taken various measures to address traffic and security system and have coordinated with various central government agencies. We hope the Rath Yatra will be held peacefully with the blessings of Lord Jagannath,” said Central Range IG Soumyendra Priyadarshi.
It was also decided in the meeting that to improve the health facility, 81 more beds will be added in Puri district headquarters hospital. Besides ambulance and first aid facilities will be made available for the tourists attending the festival.
Elaborate discussion was also held on the transportation facilities keeping in view the arrival of lakhs of tourists. Rate chart for bus passengers will be pasted at various places in the town. The East Coast Railway (ECoR) will operate 186 special trains during the Rath Yatra, 35 more CCTV cameras will be installed at Puri railway station along with 12 food stalls where food packets will be made available at Rs 15 each.
It was also decided in the meeting to install 757 hand pumps in various places including ‘Bada Danda’ in Puri, extra one hour of water will be supplied to servitors, 24 hours power supply and various basic amenities will be provided during the festival.
While a total of 16 issues were discussed in the meeting, the Revenue Minister along with Puri Collector will hold a meeting with authorities of Coir Board tomorrow to arrange rope for pulling chariots of the deities.