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3 dead, 7 injured as Lord Jagannath’s chariot hits power line

Police officials said hundreds of devotees of Lord Jagannath were pulling the iron chariot when it came in contact with the high power transmission lines.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2019 20:37 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneshwar
holy rath,rath yatra,death in rath yatra
Devotees participate in Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra in the presence of huge police deployment, at the walled city, in New Delhi(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

Three people were electrocuted and seven others suffered electrical burns when the iron chariot of Lord Jagannath touched an 11KV power line in Kaliapani area of mineral-rich Jajpur district on the day of Rathyatra.

Police officials said hundreds of devotees of Lord Jagannath were pulling the iron chariot when it came in contact with the high power transmission lines. “Two of the devotees who were holding the chariot were instantly electrocuted while others were thrown around,” said Kaliapani police station inspector Ramakanta Muduli. The deceased men have been identified as Bharat Ray and Suchitra Lenka.

The injured who suffered major electrical burns have been admitted to a local hospital. Officials said, every year power supply in the 11 KV lines is turned off during car festival, but could not explain why the same was not done this year.

In another incident, an eight-year-old boy suffered severe injuries and was admitted to AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, when he came under the wheels of a chariot being pulled in Banapur area of Khurda. The boy, Sunil Patra, was watching the chariot of Lord Jagannath when the accident took place.

In Puri, where cyclone Fani had wreaked massive havoc two months ago causing huge damage to the life and property, close to a million devotee thronged its main thoroughfare to pull the three chariots of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.

Just about two months ago, the Grand Road leading to the Jagannath temple as well as major roads in the city were littered with fallen trees and electric poles, asbestos debris and torn hoardings. But within last two months, the district officials managed to restore the minimum infrastructure for smooth conduct of Rath Yatra. “We tried our best to restore the town for Rath Yatra despite several handicaps,” said Puri district collector Balwant Singh. The storm also caused major losses to at least 200-odd hotels on the Puri sea beach as well as those a little away from it.

Though several villages of Puri district are still in dark and thousands of affected people making temporary housing arrangements, lakhs of devotees started pulling the chariots at around 2.15 pm at the end of ceremonial procession by the temple servitors. The deities will go on a nine-day sojourn to their aunt’s house and return to Srimandir after completion of nine days on the day of ‘Bahuda’.

The state administration has made elaborate arrangements for the smooth and peaceful conduct of the festival. It would be a challenge for the administration to accommodate the tourists in the pilgrim town, which was devastated by cyclone Fani that hit the coastal district on May 3.

Over 10000 police persons, including those from central paramilitary force, have been deployed in Puri for security arrangements. The Indian Coast Guard deployed its ships and helicopters for air and sea surveillance.

First Published: Jul 04, 2019 20:27 IST