Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw inspected Puri station on Monday (19 June) to ensure all arrangements are in place by the Indian Railways for the famous car festival, ahead of the Rath Yatra today (20 June).
The Railways has pressed total 859 special trains in service — an increase from 718 trains last year — across the country to carry 18 lakh pilgrims for Jagannath Yatra this year.
In order to cater to the growing number of pilgrims, special trains will run from various destinations like Khurda Road, Nuagaon, Keonjhargarh, Angul, Sambalpur, Visakhapatnam, Gunupur, Bhadrak, Brahmapur, Jajpur Keonjhar Road, Paradeep Jagadalpur and Sambalpur.
Special trains from western India, northeast, southern and eastern parts of the country are being run to facilitate passengers from every corner of the country.
Currently, Puri station is being redeveloped to cater to more trains and passengers under massive upgradation exercise.
According to the Railways, extra rakes, drivers and train managers will be kept ready to run as special trains, as per the demand of the situation on a short notice.
Adequate number of ticket booking counters have been opened to cater to the rush of passengers. There are total 63 numbers of additional ticket counters operational for the Rath Yatra festival on 20 June.
Keeping the huge rush of pilgrims in mind, the Railways has created a 'Rest Shed' of 17,812 sqm area for the stay of 20,000 pilgrims at the station.
As per special arrangement, the Railways has also constructed 101 toilets, five urinals and 32 bathrooms for the pilgrims. Arrangements have been made for free transportation service for Divyangjans, patients and senior citizens with six battery operated vehicles.
Tightening the security system, 100 CCTV cameras are being installed to be monitored by the RPF control room besides surveillance through drones, sniffer dogs.
The mechanical wing of the Railways will additionally provide assistance to Shree Jagannath Temple administration with jacks of 30 ton capacity, for movement/direction change of chariots.
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