Bhubaneswar: The famous Rukuna Rath Yatra, the annual chariot festival of Lord Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar, which is scheduled for April 20 will be held without the participation of devotees in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the servitors of the shrine, police personnel and district administration officials will remain present during the chariot festival.
BMC additional commissioner Laxmikant Sethi said a blueprint has been prepared considering their demands to conduct the event without the devotees.
A blueprint detailing the modalities for the festival has been prepared in a meeting chaired by BMC Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhary on Thursday. Representatives of the four Nijogs of the shrine, temple committee, police and district administrations and BMC officials were present in the meeting.
BMC Additional Commissioner Laxmikant Sethi informed, “We have prepared a blueprint on timing of the rituals, RT-PCR tests of the people including servitors who will attend the festival, social distancing, use of sanitizer and masks, sanitisation of the chariot and other arrangements.
The blueprint will be submitted to the State government following which the final decision regarding the conduct of the festival will be taken,” added Sethi.
Sethi further said that the Palia sevayats, who will pull the chariot, have to undergo COVID-19 test before the yatra.
He said that the Biswakarma sevayats have already started the construction of chariot at Mahakhala.