The state government has decided to offer free transport service to pilgrims from the newly constructed bus terminus at Malatipatpur to Puri during the Nabakalebara festival scheduled in July. The government has made a budgetary provision of Rs 40 lakh for the free transport service.
The bus terminus is being constructed at a cost of Rs 65 crore along the Bhubaneswar-Puri national highway at Malatipatpur, about 6 kms from Puri. About 600 buses can be parked at a time at the terminal, which is spread over 10 acres of land and faces Malatipatpur railway station.
Though the government has made the budgetary allocation, it has not yet created any foolproof blueprint for the ‘type’ of transport service.
“We will soon decide whether we will press into service buses or mini-buses or jeeps,” said a district officer. “Since Puri will be jam-packed during Nabakalebara, we may go for small vehicles to avoid traffic congestion. The free transportation is meant for Nabakalebara only,” the officer said.
The pilgrims will be dropped at Atharanala, one of the entrances of Puri, from where they will have to walk till Jagannath Temple on Grand Road. “Since the distance between Atharanala and Jagannath Temple is only around 1.5 km, pilgrims will not face much inconvenience,” the officer added.
The district administration said two temporary bus stands are being built at Talabania and Manglaghat, situated on the outskirts of two separate entry points to Puri. “Buses coming from Konark will park the vehicles at Talabania. Vehicles from Brahmagiri will be parked at Mangalaghat,” the officer said.
Four-wheelers are likely to face trouble as the district administration has not yet identified parking lots for them. “There is no parking space inside the town. We are looking for parking lots on the outskirts,” the officer said.
Wary of poor road connectivity in Puri, the state government has identified seven major roads inside the town for renovation. This apart, three internal roads — Coco Palm to Bidhaba Ashram, Chakratirtha Road and Red Cross Road — have been identified for restoration.