Cuttack: Surendra Panigrahi, Secretary of Bikash Parisad NGO, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Orissa High Court, Thursday, seeking cancellation of the annual Rath Yatra festival in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Panigrahi stated that every year more than 10 lakh devotees come to Puri to participate in the annual festival, even from outside the state.
If same numbers of devotees turn up this year too, it will be an elephantine task for district administration to maintain social distancing, which will worsen the situation, added Panigrahi in his statement.
Panigrahi further mentioned that in the past 425 years, Ratha Yatra has not been held on 32 occasions due to various reasons.
The PIL has requested the HC to ask the government to take immediate action to stop the annual festival in order to avoid the spread of the virus.
In the PIL, Ministry of Culture, Chief Secretary of Odisha, Secretary Home Ministry, Sri Jagannath Temple Administration and its Chief Administrator, Endowment Department Commissioner, Odisha Police DGP, Puri District Collector and SP, are the parties to it.