Puri Rath Yatra 2019: Odisha’s Resilience Retold

Bhubaneswar: Exactly two months ago on 3rd May 2019, Cyclone Fani hit the Odisha coast near Puri and its adjoining areas. The extremely severe cyclone devastated vast areas with winds that exceeded 250 kms. The aftermath of the cyclone left a trail of devastation never seen in last two decades. Everything was undone and the temple city of Puri became wreckage because of the nature’s fury.

But the blessings of Lord Jagannath and a strong determination of the Government of Odisha reversed the situation and readied the temple city to host the world famous Ratha Yatra. It was a herculean task to rebuild the entire area devastated due to cyclone Fani especially Puri with all the electrical infrastructure broken and lakhs of houses damaged. There was gloom and despair but soon started the resurrection.

With an intent to rebuild and ready the city for the Ratha Yatra, the district administration took the task itself to show the world that it can do. The State government left no stone unturned to help the authorities to turn the table and deal with the difficult situation.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also took the responsibility on himself to look after the rebuilding exercise. He reviewed the situation on field and held discussions with the departments concerned. He also chaired the Ratha Yatra Coordination Committee meeting twice in Puri to oversee the preparations.

Today, Puri is again resilient. It has established itself to welcome the millions of people who will come here to witness the biggest chariot festival of the world. It has left behind the devastation to showcase a new city that has emerged victorious against the nature’s fury. The Cyclone had broken the backbone of the economy of the area. The losses were estimated to be more than ten thousand crore. Relief and rehabilitation was priority for the state and the government took the right and timely initiatives to do it in a record time.

The able leadership of the Chief Minister and his team has shown the world that a strong determination to do can work wonders. It shows that Lord Jagannath is also with the people of Odisha in this difficult times and helped in rebuilding the loss.
Not only the electricity has been restored completely in the damaged areas, people have also started rebuilding their houses. The hotel industry which was the most hit due to the cyclone, has managed to come back to business. The roads have been repaired and other civic infrastructure repaired in time before the Car Festival. The Sri Jagannath Temple, which was also severely hit by the Cyclone has burnt a loss of more than five crore.

For the smooth conduct of the Ratha Yatra, the administration has put up a robust security system involving more than ten thousand police personnel, one thousand police officers, numerous high rank officers and the health machinery at disposal.

The Sri Jagannath Temple Administration has taken all steps for timely management of the Ratha Yatra. The rituals started on time and the Chariots started moving towards Gundicha Temple on schedule. The Puri Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb performed the ceremonial Chera Panhara.

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