No-fly proposal turned down

Bhubaneswar: The ministry of civil aviation has turned down the proposal of state police to declare the area surrounding the Jagannath temple as a no-flying zone, police said on Thursday.

The state police had earlier proposed to declare the area as no-flying zone for the annual charity festival scheduled to be held on Saturday.

The police said the ministry had turned down the proposal, citing that the region was an international route for air services.

"The ministry replied that there is no threat to the temple and Bada Danda (Grand Road) as flights fly around 35,000 feet high above the ground. The ministry, however, replied that a special alert system would be put in place if any aircraft flies below 10,000 feet in case of emergency," said a senior police official.

In another development, the police on Thursday conducted a mock drill of security arrangements for the chariot festival.

A contingent of the Odisha State Armed Police and the Rapid Action Force, under the command of inspector general (central range) Soumendra Priyadarshi, carried out a rehearsal of security arrangements.

Three jeeps were modified into the chariot of the trinity for the mock drill.

"Chariot pulling, manoeuvres, application of brakes and controlled-dragging were practised by the security forces. Besides, the deployment of the outer cordon, which guards the three chariots on the Grand Road, was also rehearsed," said Priyadarshi.

The police said special arrangements had been made for nabajaubana darshan, which would be observed early Friday morning. As many 33 platoon of police under the command of 200 officers will be deployed for ensuring security and safety on Friday.

The police said the security, along the Puri cost, has been tightened for the annual festival.

"We will keep a vigil on boats landing on the coast. We have also asked the fishermen community to report any suspicious elements in the sea," said a police official.


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