The union has allowed the Odisha government to execute the operation of construction of the chariots of Lord Jagannath and his siblings for the upcoming Rath Yatra or stand cancelled. Even so, the Centre has made it clear that the state government will have to exert the ultimate call on whether the Puri Rath Yatra will be held this year. The nine-day festival, frequented by lakhs of devotees, is catalogued to begin on June 23.
The Odisha government had on Wednesday sought the Centre’s clarification on whether the chariots could be built during the lockdown. Ashish Kumar Singh, the undersecretary in the Union home ministry, has drafted in a letter to the Odisha chief secretary: “The undersigned is directed to convey that the activity of Rath construction is allowed to be undertaken in the Rath Khala, which is situated on both sides of the Grand Road in front of the Temple office and Sri Nahar (Palace).”
The Centre has laid down definite provisions. “No religious congregation takes place in the Ratha Khala. Complete segregation of the Ratha Khala should be ensured,” the letter said. Ratha Khala is the designated site for the construction of the three chariots.