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To Puri, for His darshan only

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 4: The Jagannath temple will be closed for one-and-a-half hours to facilitate President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the 12th century shrine on Saturday.

Puri police said the President would stay in the temple for around one hour. Thirty minutes prior to his visit, the temple will be evacuated and no devotees will be allowed entry to the shrine during the period that the VIP stays there.

“Only the servitors with proper passes will be allowed entry to the temple. The police will be deployed at various places in the city, including the temple, helipad and Governor’s House, to manage traffic during the President’s movement,” said Puri superintendent of police Anup Sahoo.

Mukherjee will stay at Raj Bhavan in Puri.

Security in both Puri and Bhubaneswar has been beefed up for the President’s two-day visit to the state beginning Friday.

An official said 40 platoons of police would be deployed in Bhubaneswar to ensure foolproof security for Mukherjee, while another 20 platoons would be on duty in Puri.

The President will arrive at Bhubaneswar airport on Friday afternoon and leave for Puri in a helicopter. Next morning, he will visit the Jagannath temple, and later, he will attend the convocations of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan in Bhubaneswar.

Security arrangements would be tight at the Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, where he will attend the IIT convocation. It will be equally tight at the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, where the convocation of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan will be held.

Deputy commissioner of police Nitinjeet Singh said the police would be deployed at Biju Patnaik Airport, Governor’s House, the IMMT and XIMB campus and on routes leading to these places.

Four deputy commissioners of police have been given overall responsibilities of the security arrangements, while four additional deputy commissioners of police, 17 assistant commissioners of police, 30 inspectors and 185 sub-inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors will also be deployed.

“Strategic points along the President’s route have been barricaded,. We will try to cause as little inconvenience to general public as possible,” said Singh.

Registrar of IIT, Bhubaneswar, B.K. Ray said: “We have made arrangements for people to watch the proceedings on television installed outside the auditorium. BTech and PhD degrees will be conferred on 103 students and two persons, respectively. Besides, former Isro chairman U.R. Rao, founder of third world centre for water management Asit Biswas and educator S.K. Bhattacharya will be conferred honorary doctorates.”

Dean-cum-managing director of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan S.K. Tamotia said: “This is the convocation for the sixth batch of students and nearly 45 students will be awarded degrees.”