The state government has drawn up a detailed security plan for Jagannath Temple at Puri in view of Nabakalebar festival in July 2015. The 12th century shrine is one among high-risk category temples in the country.
While high-frequency closed-circuit television cameras would be installed in and around the temple, baggage scanners would be put in place at four entrance points to check gunny bags, carrying vegetables, grocery items and firewood into the shrine for preparation of Mahaprasad.
“Huge quantities of rice, pulses, vegetables, grocery items in bags and firewood are taken to the temple without any checking. An entrance should be identified for transport of the goods every day,” said minutes of a high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary J K Mohapatra here recently.
Though police, at present, frisk visitors to the temple at the four entrance points, there is no mechanism to scan goods. Every day, Mahaprasad is cooked for over 40,000 people at the temple’s kitchen, touted as the biggest of its kind in the country.
The chief secretary asked police to immediately identify locations for installation of CCTV cameras in and around the temple. The surveillance cameras would also be put up along Grand Road and near Gundicha Temple. Though 16 CCTV cameras were installed inside the shrine in the past, some of them were dismantled in view of ongoing repair and restoration work. “CCTV cameras fitted inside the temple should be properly monitored by security personnel in a control room. Though four watchtowers were erected around the temple for security personnel to keep a hawk’s eye on the shrine, those have not been made operational due to faulty design. The design should be modified,” the minutes said.
On normal days, security of Jagannath Temple is manned by nearly 100 armed police personnel, 80 unarmed cops, one ASP, one DSP, one inspector, three sub-inspectors and 26 assistant sub-inspectors.
SP (Puri) Anup Kumar Sahoo said steps are being taken to improve the security apparatus at the temple. “For effective management of crowd at public places during the 2015 festival, we recently visited Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh. The purpose of the visit was to learn the preparedness,” Sahoo said.
Around five to seven lakh people visit Puri during annual Rath Yatra while around 10 lakh people had visited the beach town during the last edition of Nabakalebar in 1996. However, the government anticipates the crowd to go up by five times in 2015 because of better connectivity to Puri.Nabakalebar Jagannath Temple at Puri CCTV