BHUBANESWAR: The state government has asked the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) to prepare the proposed comprehensive mobility plan (CMP) for Jagannath's Nabakalebar festival (formation of new idols of deities) that will be celebrated at Puri in 2015.
The CMP involves creation and expansion of roads for smooth movement of traffic and creation of more parking lots to accommodate an anticipated footfall of nearly 50 lakh pilgrims during the mega festival, which will be observed after 19 years.
The Puri administration has been dealing with nearly 7 lakh crowd during Rath Yatra every year. Though more than 10 lakh visitors thronged Puri during 1996 Nabakalebar festival, the number is expected to rise in 2015 because of better connectivity these days. It will be an acid test for the government to handle the crowd in Puri that gets choked during Rath Yatra.
Lack of parking lots and massive encroachments are a cause of concern for the administration. So the housing and urban development department (H&UD) has asked BDA to complete the CMP by October-end. "The process has begun. Since it involves lots of works, we are trying to finish it by this year-end," BDA vice-chairman Vishal Kumar Dev told TOI.
"We will conduct a study on accessibility in Puri. The connecting roads and existing space inside the city for movement of traffic would be looked into. The government will also modernize the transport facility near beach and hotels," Dev said.
To augment the accommodation facility in Puri, it has been decided to set up temporary dwelling units, akin to Kumbh Mela. The H&UD has asked the Puri administration to send some of its officials to Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik to learn how those cities accommodate lakhs of tourists during religious functions. "The study tour will be funded by the state urban development agency (SUDA), Bhubaneswar," a senior H&UD officer said.
Puri has around 300 small and medium-sized hotels, which can accommodate around 40,000 people. The government has decided to identity certain mutts to serve as temporary accommodation centres. But out of the 200 mutts, very few are habitable.