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Odisha CM asks 4 ministers to ensure hassle-free Rath Jatra

PTI 22 Jun 2015, 17:01:35 PM IST

Bhubaneswar:  With Odisha government being slammed over reports of deviation in the century old 'Brahma Paribartan' ritual of Lord Jagannath, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today asked four ministers to rush to Puri and ensure the smooth celebration of the 'Rath Jatra festival on July 18.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singdeo, Energy Minister Pranab Prakash Das, Health and Family Welfare Minister Atanu S Nayak and Law Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo have been directed to expedite works of their concerned departments, said Pratap Keshari Deb, the spokesman of the ruling BJD and chairman of Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB).

Sources said Patnaik's order comes in the backdrop of delay in conducting the ritual of 'Brahma Paribartan' (transfer of soul substance from old idols to new ones) of the Lords on June 15. Though the original schedule was to undertake Brahma Paribartan on midnight of June 15, the secret ritual was held on the day time of June 16.

Though the four ministers remained silent on the responsibilities given to them, Deb said these ministers would go to Puri and ensure that facilities are in place much before the festival.

The chief minister has also told the ministers that the festival must be hassle-free.

The state govenrment is expecting a congregation of about 25 lakh people on 'Rath Jatra' day.

"We hope that 95 per cent of the infrastractural works will be completed by first week of July," Deb said, adding, the state government has undertaken different woks in health, sanitation, drainage, drinking water, road communication while the Centre is expanding rail network to the holy town ahead of the festival.

Meanwhile, opposition Congress and BJP have criticised the state government for non-completion of different works before the festival. They also held the state government responsible for the deviation of the age old tradition in the Brahma Paribartan ritual.

Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) yesterday recorded statements of the four Badagrahi (body protectors of four idols in the shrine) priests while probing into the cause of delay in the Brahma paribartan ritual.