By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, December 25, 2023: The Odisha government headed by  Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday approved the creation of a special security battalion (SSB) consisting of 1,190 police personnel for the Jagannath Temple in Puri. The SSB is necessary due to the massive transformation under the Shree Jagannath Parikrama project. The temple’s periphery makeover will attract huge crowds. The temple is one of the high-security shrines in the country.

The SSB’s primary responsibility will be to provide security and manage crowds for hassle-free darshan. The temple area has expanded to 32 acres after the Parikrama-led transformation.announced to create a dedicated Special Security Battalion for Puri Jagannath Temple for security and crowd management amid a controversy over entry of social media influencer Kamiya Jani into the temple with the opposition BJP accusing her of being a “beer eater and promoter”.

The special security battalion will comprise around 1,200 personnel and placed under the command and control of the SP, Puri. The primary responsibility of the new battalion will be to ensure security to the shrine, which has been witnessing huge footfalls. The personnel will be specially trained for crowd management and tourist/devotee facilitation for ensuring a hassle free and orderly darshan by devotees, sources said.

The decision to create a separate battalion was taken based on the feedback given by chairman 5T and Nabin Odisha V K Pandian after discussion with all stakeholders, said an official statement.

According to temple administration officials, in post-Covid period, daily footfalls of devotees was estimated to be around 50,000 and it doubles and triples during the weekends and on important religious occasions. The flow of devotees is likely to increase substantially after the new heritage corridor project- Srimandira Parikrama project is opened for the public.

The Parikrama project, a 75-m free passage built around the outer walls (Meghanada Pacheri) of the shrine is aimed to ensure temple security and provide basic civic amenities to the devotees. Developed with an investment of Rs 800 crore, the project will be inaugurated on January 17.

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