Ayodhya: With just a day left for the Ram Temple bhoomi pujan in Ayodhya, the temple town on the banks of Saryu river is being prepped with no stone being left unturned to greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignitaries.
The administration faces the twin challenge of ensuring PM Modi’s security and ensuring that social distancing norms are followed amid a raging pandemic.
Modi has repeatedly stressed on ‘do gaj ki doori’ — to maintain social distancing — in all of his addresses to the nation. The Ayodhya administration has gone beyond ‘do gaj’ and is going to ensure at least 8-foot distance in seating arrangement.
“All safety and security preparations are being done for the 5 August programme. We will be placing the chairs at a distance of 8 feet to ensure greater social distancing,” Ayodhya District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha told ThePrint. “Sanitisation of the main area where the programme will be held is being carried out multiple times. We are also carrying out fumigation and are disinfecting with sodium hypochlorite solution as per protocol.”
Another senior official said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has made it clear that those on duty should not breach social distancing norms by seeking selfies with dignitaries.
“The chief minister said that senior officers should be posted at different places at the main venue such as the helipad, Hanumangarhi, Janmabhoomi complex and they should be briefed such that they don’t end up taking photos and selfies on their mobiles during duty hours in areas where they are posted,” the senior official said.
Jha said all the workers inside the temple premises have been provided triple layered masks and two enforcement teams have been constituted to monitor that they wear their protective gear all the time.
“They (enforcement teams) have been given hand-held PA systems,” he added. “These teams work for 12 hours and keep a check on whether security and safety protocols are being followed. Whenever they find any violator, they immediately ask them to wear the mask.”
The pressure on the Ayodhya administration to not leave any scope for laxity increased over the past few days with several high-profile leaders, such as Home Minister Amit Shah and Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, testing positive for the novel coronavirus. On 30 July, four police personnel and an assistant priest had also tested positive in Ayodhya district, sending the entire administration into a tizzy.
Dedicated Covid help desk, three-layered masks for attendees
A dedicated Covid help desk has also been put in place and is providing everything right from thermal screening facility to two doctors on duty round the clock.
According to sources, all the invitees have already been told to wear a three-layered mask on the day of the event and additional masks have been procured in case they are required.
“Warm water will be provided to all the attendees and a medical team will be on standby in case anything happens. We are following all protocols to ensure the programme goes as per plan,” said a senior official.
On Monday, apart from the venue, the Ayodhya administration started sanitising the roads and streets. Fire extinguishers loaded with water were busy spraying the areas.
CM Yogi Adityanath also carried out a review of the preparation and took stock of the pandal constructed in the Ramjanmabhoomi and other areas.
“The CM has also asked authorities to control stray cattle and monkeys in the area,” the official added. “There should be no lapse during the Prime Minister’s visit. Monkeys can be stopped by feeding them fruits in their areas.”