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MLA to lead Nabakalebar panel

Bhubaneswar, July 26: The state government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure smooth conduct of Nabakalebar yatra of Lord Jagannath and his sibling in Puri next year.

As a step in this direction, the government today set up the Nabakalebar Infrastructure Supervision Committee under the chairmanship of Puri MLA Maheswar Mohanty.

The committee will supervise and co-ordinate various infrastructure projects related to Nabakalebar 2015.

Besides, Mohanty will be accorded the status of a cabinet minister. Other members of the panel are revenue divisional commissioner, Puri collector, and district-level officers of line departments. While the revenue divisional commissioner will play the role of co-chairman, the Puri collector will function as member, secretary of the committee.

During the Nabakalebar festival, the images of the deities will be replaced with new ones. The state government is expecting nearly 50 lakh pilgrims to assemble in Puri to witness the mega event.

According to the notification issued today, the planning and co-ordination department will be the administrative development in respect of the committee and its functions. However, none of the members of the Puri Shree Jagananth Temple administration has been included in the committee.

Sources said the state government had decided to form the panel after facing serious embarrassment during the recent rath yatra because of the tussle between the servitors and the temple administration. The row had taken place over the issue of barring devotees from climbing the chariots and subsequently Puri Shankarachrya Swami Nishalanada Sarswati boycotting rath yatra.

“The state government was peeved with the temple administration as it failed to resolve the issue which had snowballed into a major crisis. Later, it took help of the Puri MLA, who sort out the things,” said an official.

Welcoming the move, daitapati (servitor) association president Ramkrushna Das Mohapatra said: “Everyone wants that next year the Nabakalebar should be conducted smoothly without even the suggestion of a controversy. We will provide all support to the administration.”

The major challenge before the committee will be to co-ordinate between the groups of sevayats and ensure that all of them help the administration in performing the rituals connected with the Nabakalebar.