Even as the state is recovering from the devastation caused by cyclone Fani, Odisha is expecting up to 33 per cent growth in devotee footfalls of up to 2 million in the annual Jagannath Rathyatra on Thursday in the holy city of Puri. "I take great pride in announcing that Odisha will be celebrating the colourful Jagannath Rathyatra from July 4-12, just 2 months after the cyclone-ravaged Puri," Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi told PTI here.
The minister said the Fani-ravaged infrastructure, including electricity, water supply, telecommunication and hotels have been restored. The state usually receives 1.5 million for the car festival held on the second day of the fortnight of Asadha (June- July) every year.
"As we are still going through the restoration process, we expected the Chariot festival to be low key. However, we are fully prepared now and are expecting 1.5-2 million devotees to participate in the festival," Tourism, Sports and Youth Services commissioner cum secretary Vishal Kumar Dev said. Initially, the state administration thought to restore electricity in Puri, which was done within the promised timeline, he said.
The state government had launched a massive restoration work in the cyclone-affected areas providing easy loans and subsidies to small to mid-sized hotels, he added. Fani' barreled through Odisha on May 4, unleashing torrential rain and windstorm that gusted up to 175 kmph, blowing away thatched houses and swamping towns and villages.
Odisha suffered a tentative loss of Rs 12,000 crore due to the cyclone that damaged more than 5 lakh dwelling units in the state's coastal districts.
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