20,000 security personnel to guard Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad

A strong force of 20,000 armed men will guard the 138th Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath which will be taken out on July 18.

Ahmedabad: A strong force of 20,000 armed men will guard the 138th Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath which will be taken out on July 18.

Briefing on the elaborate security scheme for the Yatra, to be taken out across 18 kilometres in the city, Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Branch), Vikas Sahay said on Wednesday that around 20,000 personnel of police and paramilitary forces will be involved in security set-up on the day.

These personnel include 8 IG and DIG level officers, 28 SPs, 75 Dy SPs, 204 inspectors, 450 sub-inspectors, 10,000 constables, 5000 home guards, and 50 companies of State Reserve Police and other paramilitary forces, such as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force and Rapid Action Force. Each company comprises around 80 to 90 personnel.

The grand procession usually consists of 18 elephants, 100 trucks, and 30 akhadas. The Raths of Lord Jagganath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra will be pulled by Khalashi community as per the age-old tradition.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anadiben Patel will perform the symbolic 'pahind' (ritual of cleaning the roads when the raths roll out of the temple).

Three unmanned Aerial Vehicles – 'Netra' -- will be used to keep a check on people in sensitive areas.

"Netra has a camera mounted on it, which provides feed to our laptop. It can fly upto 100 meters and gives a bird's eye view. This time, we are also planning to transfer the live video feed of these three Netras at a single location for faster response," Sahay said.

Police have also installed 50 CCTV cameras at various strategic locations on the route. The live feed of these cameras can be seen by us on the video wall of main control room.

"To locate the exact spot of the Rath Yatra from anywhere, we will deploy 13 PCR vans, enabled with GPS system and one van will be deployed after every 10 trucks. The GPS system will automatically send SMSs at regular interval to top officials on latest location of the procession," he added.

Since Eid is also likely to fall on the same day, police have stepped up efforts to maintain peace during the celebrations.

"As per the calendar, Eid also falls on the same day. Thus, we are taking extra precaution. We are holding various mohalla committee meetings to ensure peace. Rehearsal of Rath Yatra will be conducted on July 16," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Control), D H Parmar said.

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