Even as it is yet to fully recover from the devastation caused by the cyclone Fani, Odisha is all set for the annual Jagannath Rathyatra, which begins in the holy city of Puri on Thursday. The state is expecting around 2 lakh devotees to throng the temple city during the weeklong festival, which is over 30 percent more than last year. Usually, that state welcomes around 1.5 million devotees during the festival.
"I take great pride in announcing that Odisha will be celebrating the Jagannath Rathyatra during July 4-12, just two months after the cyclone-ravaged the city of Puri," state tourism minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi told PTI, adding the state has already restored the key infrastructure like electricity and water supply, telecommunication and hotels which were destroyed by the cyclone. "We are expecting the chariot festival to be low key this year as we are still recovering from the cyclone.
However, we are fully prepared now and are expecting 1.5-2 million devotees at the festival," tourism, sports and youth services secretary Visha Kumar Dev said. The state had launched a massive restoration work in the cyclone-affected areas providing easy loans and subsidies to small and mid-sized hotels, he added.
Fani barreled through the Odisha coast on May 4, unleashing torrential rains and windstorm that gusted up to 175 kmph, killing over 10 people and Puri was one the worst hit areas. Odisha suffered an estimated Rs 12,000 crore loss from the cyclone that damaged over 5 lakh dwelling units across the coastal districts.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)