The Gujarat police and the Jagannath Temple Trust have begun preparations for the Rathyatra that is to be held on July 12. It is however still not clear whether the traditional Rathyatra will be allowed or not. Last year it was not allowed owing to the COVID surge.
On Monday police and municipal corporation authorities surveyed dangerous structures, pot-holed roads, and trees that need trimming on the Rathyatra route. Usually, the police begin preparations for the Rathyatra two months in advance.
Police have also begun a survey of points where cops will be stationed and CCTV cameras will be mounted. A list is also being prepared of officials who have served during the past Rathyatra bandobast.
Police and municipal officials are also trying to figure out how can COVID norms including masks and social distancing be followed if Rathyatra is to be held.
It should be noted that as of now all temples are closed and there is a ban on all sorts of public celebrations. There is also a limitation on the number of people allowed at weddings and funerals. So it remains to be seen how Rathyatra will be conducted in the coming days.
Rathyatra last year
The Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad decided to carry out the traditional Rathyatra within the temple premises last year. The decision came in the wake of the Gujarat High Court staying the procession in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time since 1878 that the Lord Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad did not take out the Rathyatra. The Gujarat High Court had granted a stay on the yatra following a PIL that said doing so would lead to further spread of COVID-19 as it would attract a large crowd. The Rathyatra was scheduled to be held on June 23.
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