Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Bhubaneswar, Jan 5:
Stung by all-round criticism for its ineffective handling of the jaundice outbreak in several parts of the state, the Odisha government today asked the concerned officials to take necessary steps to maintain sanitation and hygiene in the pilgrim town of Puri in view of the upcoming Nabakalebar festival in July this year.
During a review meeting at state secretariat, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked the officials to make Puri open defecation free and identify places from Bhubaneswar to Puri and in the holy town where toilets would be built. The officials were also directed the officials to complete the renovation of 6.6 KM drain and sewerage system in Puri by this April.
To meet the requirements of the around 32 lakh pilgrims expected to throng the pilgrim town for the festival including the city denizens, the Chief Minister asked the officials to complete the 200-acre water reservoir on 600 acre land before the festival to provide 58.60 million litres per day (MLD) of water during Nabakalebara. Besides, provision for digging tubewells and setting up of water containers to provide potable water to visitors should be completed in time, the Chief Minister stressed.
During the review meeting, the Chief Minister asked the officials to complete the infrastructure projects under the state Works department within the deadline of this April. The officials have been asked to expedite road connectivity projects within the stipulated time: Mangalaghat bypass by March, Sterling bypass by May, widening of Atharnala road by April, Malatipatapur-Balukhanda road and Pipili-Konark road by April, and Puri-Satapada road by March and completion of parking slots by April.
Besides, they have been asked to make provision for toilets and drinking water in all the parking areas.
It was decided at the meeting to launch shuttle services for the convenience of tourists. In addition to this, battery-driven vehicles would be pressed into service to ply senior citizens and persons with disability from parking areas to the Jagannath temple.
Anticipating huge footfall during the period, the officials have been asked to construct makeshift accommodation for the floating population. Besides, they have been asked to encourage local people to provide mass accommodation and hospitality to the tourists.
The meeting also discussed improving rail connectivity, law and order situation and other pertinent issues.
Nabakalebara Infrastructure Supervision Committee (NISC) Chairman and Puri MLA Maheswar Mohanty, Law Minister Arun Sahoo, Chief Secretary G C Pati, Development Commissioner U N Behera, police DGP Sanjeev Marik and other senior officials were present in the review meeting.