Puri: With places like Puri, Konark, Chandrabhaga, Chilika etc experiencing heavy tourist footfall, the police have come up with a slew of measures for their safe visit and stay in the district.
According to the information shared by superintendent of police Umashankar Dash, a ‘tourist police cell’, was first introduced in the district two or three years ago. It was started with 18 policemen, some of whom underwent a 15-day-long training session at Bhubaneswar. Later on the Tourism Department donated four vehicles for patrolling.
As of now, these four vehicles have been engaged in patrolling. While two vehicles are covering the stretch from Puri to Balighai and from Konark to Balighai, the remaining two are patrolling on Puri-Balighai and Konark-Balighai stretches.
For the benefit of tourists, two helpline numbers have been attached to the Dial 100 control room. The facility is available at various locations on Satapada-Konark stretch. If a tourist lands in any trouble, s/he can dial 100 and within the next few moments a tourist patrolling van will reach them.
In case the tourist patrolling van is not available at that particular time, then either a PCR van or a police station van will reach there.
There are female cops at the tourist patrolling vehicles who can provide any assistance to female tourists in trouble.
All the police station vehicles, PCR vans and tourist police vans have recently been connected with GPS system which will help the police keep track on the movements of the vehicles.
Dash informed that four PCR vans with all the modern facilities sanctioned by Odisha Mining Corporation Limited are soon to be added in the fleet. These vehicles would be engaged for patrolling in Puri town only.
Generally tourists coming to Puri are being cheated and harassed when they book boats at Satapada, when they buy fake pearls, when they take a van on hire and when they book a hotel. Steps are to be taken so that tourists won’t fall prey at these places. “Soon we are going to install helpline numbers at the reception counters of all the hotels”, he informed.
“At present there are 100 lifeguards at the Puri beach but they are not enough to guard, help or provide assistance to tourists along the coast. So we are mulling over roping in some volunteers. There are notice boards mentioning dos and don’ts while on the beach. But tourists are hardly following them. So we are going to put tents at two to three locations on the beach, at least for this tourist season,” he added.