Brakes on Puri buses - Flood dampens rath yatra hopes

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 1.07.08
A tourist takes photos
of the chariot for the
rath yatra. (PTI)

Bhubaneswar, July 1: Pilgrims and tourists reaching the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) with hopes of availing the special rath yatra bus service for a comfortable darshan at Puri are returning disappointed.

This year, the corporation would provide bus service to Puri from Bhubaneswar and Sambalpur. In 2007, OTDC had packages from Sambalpur, Rourkela and Bhubaneswar.

To add to the woes of the devotees, the recent floods led to large-scale disruption in road and rail network. Several pilgrims and tourists were hoping on succour from the OTDC, but in vain.

“The places from where the services are being provided have reduced and the charges have become costly,” said Bimal Panda, a teacher from Bhubaneswar who had plans to avail the special services. “Also, we never knew when the booking started. There was no proper information.”

Seats on the luxury coaches have been booked, said OTDC marketing manager Alok Mishra. “Many queries are coming in but the bookings are over. As every year, this time also there is a lot of demand,” he said.

“The number of seats available were few this year. We could only arrange 120 seats,” Mishra said.

The package from Sambalpur has increased to Rs 1,995 per head, against the Rs 1,750 last year. For children below 10, the charge has gone up from Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,395. The single-day special package from Bhubaneswar would cost Rs 1,350 per adult and Rs 800 per child.

PTI has reported that East Coast Railway has decided to run 56 special trains from Orissa and Andhra Pradesh for the convenience of pilgrims and passengers during the rath yatra. According to news release, special trains will also run from Puri from July 11 to 13.