Progress of different works for 2015 Nabakalebar of Jagannath at Puri has slowed down due to twin polls.
Conservation work at Jagannath Temple, renovation of drains and sewerage system, construction of roads, beautification of the town and development of temporary accommodation centres have been hit as department authorities concerned are busy in electioneering.
Jagannath Temple’s chief administrator Arvind Padhee said, “Hopefully the pace of work would gain momentum after the elections. In view of Nabakalebar arrangements, the Election Commission (EC) has spared employees of Jagannath Temple Administration (JTA) from election duty,” Padhee told Times Of India.
“Though we cannot take any major steps for the Nabakalebar as model code of conduct is in force, the EC has permitted us to go ahead with floating tenders for procurement of materials for daily rituals,” Padhee said.
While the state government expects 50-lakh footfall at Puri, the town has only around 400 hotels to accommodate 48,000 tourists. Though the state government had on August 17 entrusted the tourism department with making a comprehensive action plan for establishment of low-cost dormitories, no progress has been made. “We will convene meeting of hoteliers only after elections,” said a tourism department officer.
Chief secretary Jugal Kishor Mohapatra had proposed temporary shelters in public-private-partnership mode. “We will construct such temporary sheds on experimental basis for 25,000 pilgrims during Rath Yatra this year. If it works out, sheds can be constructed in large numbers during Nabakalebar,” the officer said.
Tardy conservation work at the Jagannath Temple has been a cause for concern for the JTA. Recently Padhee wrote a letter to the Archaeological Survey of India to expedite the work.
Though the government earlier decided to shift the Puri district jail to the town outskirts, identification of a land continues to plague the administration.Jagannath temple administration 2015 Nabakalebar Nabakalebar