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Bio Bubble For Ratha Khala

Puri: Puri district administration is all set to create a bio-bubble at the ‘Ratha Khala’ (construction site of the chariots for the world-famous annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings on the Badadanda-Grand Road) to protect the artisans engaged in the construction of chariots.

Puri Collector Samarth Verma has taken a decision for the creation of a bio-bubble at the ‘Ratha Khala’ following his discussion with the Chief Administrator Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Krishan Kumar.

“We are going to create a bio-bubble at the Ratha Khala. We have discussed the issue with the Collector and he has decided in its favour. This is being done since maintaining social distance is not possible at the Rath Khala. We will be providing them with N95 masks instead of the earlier cloth masks and enough quantities of sanitizers,” informed Dr.Kumar briefing newsmen after reviewing the progress in the construction of chariots today.

The SJTA Chief Administrator was of the view that the most challenging job this year would be the construction of chariots at the Ratha Khala amid the explosive surge in Covid-19 cases everywhere.

“We are trying our best with cooperation from all to uphold the age-old tradition of holding the Ratha Yatra of the Lord. I am hopeful and pray before the Mahaprabhu that tradition will be upheld in such difficult times,” he stated.

For the purposes of Covid management, a protocol has been jointly drawn up by the State Government, Health Department and SJTA, he added.

“As per the protocol anyone coming to join in the work at the Ratha Khala, they are being tested. It has been decided that following their testing they will be isolated and kept at the Gundicha Bhakta Nivas. Results of the tests are available in about 40 hours. Only those sevayats who test negative will be allowed to join work at the Ratha Khala. In the event of anyone testing positive, he will be shifted to the Covid Care Centre and his health care concerns will be taken care of,” the Chief Administrator explained.

He said that currently 88 sevayats (servitors) who include 40 Maharana sevayats, 31 Bhoi sevayats, 13 Kamara sevayats and others.

There has been good progress in the construction of the chariots as logs for 40 out of the 42 ‘tumbas ‘required for the construction of chariots have been provided to the people engaged in the chariot construction, he said and added that the remaining two are ready and would arrive tomorrow.

Dr.Kumar revealed that they have also reviewed the progress of work at the Khapuria Saw Mill in Cuttack.

He said eight of the sevayats who had come to work for construction chariots have tested positive for Covid-19 and added that out of them five are Bhoi sevayats and three are Maharana sevayats and they have been shifted to the Covid Care Centre.

Their health concerns will be taken care of by the district and temple administrations, he added.

Worth mentioning, a bio-bubble is a safe and secure environment isolated from the outside world to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection.

The concept was initially used for holding sports events during the ongoing Covid pandemic, where only authorised sports persons, support staff and match officials are allowed to enter the protected area after testing negative for Covid-19.