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Rath Yatra to be held only in Puri without devotees for second year in row

The Odisha government has decided to impose similar restrictions like last year during Rath Yatra, which is scheduled to be held on July 12.

All guidelines of the Supreme Court, issued last year, will have to be followed while observing the rituals on the occasion. (PTI)

The Odisha government on Thursday announced that devotees will be barred from participating in the annual Rath Yatra, which will only be held in Puri amid strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said the Odisha government has decided to impose similar restrictions like last year during Rath Yatra, which is scheduled to be held on July 12.

“This year also, Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra will be held sans devotees in Puri. The administration has prohibited similar celebrations in other parts of the state,” Jena said.

He added that all guidelines of the Supreme Court, issued last year, will have to be followed while observing the rituals on the occasion.

Only selected Covid-negative and fully vaccinated servitors will be allowed to take part in Snan Purnima – bathing ritual – and other programmes.

Each chariot shall not be pulled by more than 500 persons. There shall be sufficient interval between the pulling of two chariots.

Trains, buses and other private vehicles will not be allowed to enter Puri during the period.

Noting that devotees will be able to witness the programmes live on television and webcasts, Jena further added that the nine-day-long festival will commence as per schedule.

However, during Rath Yatra, curfew will be clamped in Puri to restrict the entry of outsiders. Essential services including ambulance, medical shops and water supply will be allowed.

Click here for IndiaToday.in’s complete coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

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