The Puri district administration has asked all their officers to use cycles as a mode of transportation while coming to offices every Monday. This is a part of “Monday is my Cycle Day,” a campaign launched last week jointly by the district administration, police and Barefoot, a voluntary organization.
Talking about its importance and relevance, Collector Aravind Agarwal said, “Cycling is not only good for health, but also reduces pollution caused by vehicles. We have appealed to our colleagues to cycle to office on Monday so that as many vehicles as possible can be kept off the roads for a day. This will also ease traffic congestion on road.”
Many officers, like Puri SP Ashish Singh, are already using cycles as a mode of transportation. Singh said, “I reach office from my residence on a bicycle every Monday. The distance between my office and residence is barely 50 meters. It may be a short distance, but I do not mind cycling.”
Whereas the founder of Barefoot organization, Yugabrata Kar, said that they will be soon including cycling in tourism.
Kar said, “We have started requesting tourists to take bicycle rides in Puri for sightseeing. The tourism department has also promised to promote cycling.”
To avoid the traffic imbalance and monotony at the time of upcoming Nabakalebara festival, the district administration plans to introduce battery operated vehicles on Grand Road and near the beach to address the issue of pollution. The transport department and district officials recently held a meeting to execute the project.
The celebrations mark the visit of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balaram and their sister Devi Subhadra to their aunt’s house for nine days
The preparations for the yatra are known to start well in advance, to celebrate the grandness of the festival
Amid the fêtes, PM Narendra Modi took to his Twitter handle and wished the nation on the annual occasion of Rath Yatra
Jagannath Rath Yatra is a splendid Hindu festival, which calls out for fervour every year. The celebrations mark the visit of Lord Jagannath (a manifestation of Krishna), Lord Balaram (Balabhadra) and their sister Devi Subhadra to their aunt’s house for nine days.
While the cities get all decked up, the journey to and from their aunt’s house at Shri Gundicha temple are the two important days of festivities, which are celebrated in the seaside town of Puri in Odisha. This year, in 2016, the two days will be July 6 (when the two idols will leave for their aunt’s house) and July 14 (when they’ll return to Jagannath temple, also called Bahuda Yatra).
Being the grandest festival in the city, and in the state, to say the least, the preparations for the yatra are known to start well in advance. The arrangements begin with the decoration of the elaborate wooden chariots that are pulled by ropes by thousands of devotees. Lord Jagannath’s chariot, called Nandighosh, is 45.6 feet tall and has 18 wheels. Taladhvaja is the name of Lord Balaram’s chariot and is 45 feet high and has 16 wheels and Devi Subhadra’s chariot, Devadalana, stands at 44.6 feet and has 14 wheels.
Signifying that all are equal in the eyes of Lord, the erstwhile rule of the state sweeps the path in front of the decked up rath with a broom having a golden handle and sprinkles sandalwood powder on both the days of the journey of the idols.
Cognizant to the increasing terror threat to the pilgrim town, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took a stock of security arrangements. 145 platoons of armed police personnel including officers of various ranks have been deployed in and around the town to ensure that the yatra is carried out peacefully.
Director General of Police (DGP) KB Singh told The New Indian Express, “Multi-layer security arrangements have been made for smooth conduct of the festival. CCTVs have been installed at various locations to keep a tab on the visitors.”
He further said that air surveillance and land patrolling would also be intensified.
Amid the fêtes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to his Twitter handle and extended his wishes to the nation on the annual occasion of Rath Yatra in a tweet that read, “On the occasion of Rath Yatra, my warmest greetings to you all. May Lord Jagannath continue to shower his blessings on everyone.”
He added, “May the blessings of Lord Jagannath lead to the development of villages, the well-being of poor & farmers and take India to new heights of progress.”
At 60,654 acres, Lord Jagannath could be the richest landlord among India’s deities. About 395 acres of it is now being sold to create a Rs.1,000 crore maintenance corpus for the 12th-century shrine here in the Lord’s name, an official said.
This is even as land sharks have grabbed vast patches of the 60,259 acres of Jagannath temple land across 23 districts in Odisha. The balance 395 acres is in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Of these states, West Bengal has the maximum – 322 acres – owned by the temple.
“The state government is in the process of selling temple land outside the state,” Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief Suresh Mohapatra told IANS.
Besides, the government has also written a letter to the district collector of Nainital in Uttarakhand to pay the market value of a 52-year-old building owned by the temple.
The owner of the two-storeyed building had donated the ground floor to the Jagannath temple on April 26, 1964, and it has been rented out as a post office.
There is, however, a huge catch: the state government does not have land records or ‘pattas’ for a whopping 27,331 acres spread across 111 tehsils in 23 districts.
“Out of 60,259 acres of Jagannath’s land identified by the SJTA, the state has record of rights (ROR) of only 32,927 acres. The balance 27,331 acres have no record of rights,” Law Minister Arun Sahu told the state assembly recently.
He also said that 340 cases have been filed against the land encroachers under the Sri Jagannath Temple Act 1955.
Sources said committees have been formed under the collectors of the districts concerned to collect details on the temple land and expedite the process of acquiring revised records.
The government had also planned to auction part of the temple land to boost the shrine’s revenues. The Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has been asked to sell the land on plotting basis since it has expertise in land transactions. However, the government’s move has hit a roadblock as several villagers in the Jatani area of Khurdha district have moved the Orissa High Court.
“They have managed to get a stay order from Orissa High Court. We are trying to get the stay order vacated so that about 125 acres can be sold,” Mohapatra said.
(Chinmaya Dehury can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lucknow : With overloading of vehicles turning out to be one of the foremost reasons for road accidents in the state, the Uttar Pradesh government has recovered Rs 3.95 crore as penalty in the last six days.
The fine was imposed on 4,456 vehicles and action was taken against 2,571 vehicles by the transport department, an official said on Saturday.
Calling for sustained and stringent action against overloaded vehicles, Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Alok Ranjan has asked the transport officials, public works, traffic, police and mining departments to launch a joint action team against all such vehicles.
District magistrates (DMs) were asked to ensure adequate security for these teams while on raids, officials said.
There have been many cases in past where raiding teams were assaulted, the official said.