The Government of India, through its Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission, has proposed a multistakeholder Initiative focusing on cleaning up 100 places across the country that are “Iconic” due to their history, heritage and religious and/or cultural significance with high visitors footfall. The goal of the initiative is to improve the cleanliness conditions at these places to a distinctly higher level. All Iconic Sites have designated PSUs for financial and technical support. In this backdrop, 10 places containing historically, spiritually and culturally significant heritage of India were selected in the 1st phase of implementation. Development of Puri is one amongst the 10 historical places taken up by National Aluminium Company (NALCO).
Puri – place of Pristine beauty
Puri, which is known for its historic antiquities, religious sanctuaries, architectural grandeur, seascape beauty and spiritual significance, attracts million of visitors every year from across the globe. The place is renowned worldwide for the Annual Chariot festivals, popularly called ‘Rath Yatra’, which attract more than pilgrims from across the country during June-July of every year. Hence, development activities such as infrastructure and amenities to the pilgrims apart from security are a priority. Initially, NALCO was assigned 13 projects but subsequently, during periodic reviews, new projects have been added to the PSU’s responsibility. In total, now, NALCO is implementing 19 Projects under the Swachh Iconic Place project. The major projects which have already been initiated and/or completed are listed below:
Development of Gandhi Park at Puri
Gandhi Park is located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Tourists can enjoy the seascape beauty while moving within the lushly green garden of the park. To make the park a major tourist attraction while ensuring the safety of its visitors, NALCO is making efforts towards beautification and safety of the park. Plantation of trees trees, maintenance and sculpture work, variety of flowers on display, attractive illumination of the park, is attracting the attention of visitors and thousands are flocking to the park.
LED light inside for better illumination
In joint consultation and collaboration with Shri Jagannath Temple Administration, all lights have been replaced with LED within the “Kurma bedha” of the Shri Jagannath temple resulting in better illumination. It has resulted in not only enhancing the beauty but also greater visibility and highlighting the art work in the absence of sun light.
Thematic Wall Painting
The roadside walls along the VIP road, measuring 15000 Sq.ft., are painted with the pictures in collaboration with the District Administration to give the passersby the glimpse of the rich history of the Jagannath culture and magnificence of Odisha art. The colorful walls are not only adding beauty to the road but also displaying the rich cultural heritage of Odisha and the Jagannath culture. Seeing the positive response of the visitors and localites, NALCO has initiated a proposal for the painting of another 15000 Sq.ft.
Installation of Signage to promote ‘Swachh Iconic City’
Signage/hoardings have been installed at three strategic entry points to Puri and at Grand road to create awareness among pilgrims and visitors about Swachhata and depicting the city as a “Swachh Iconic City”.
Renovation of Museum inside Shri Jagannath Temple
The project has been taken up to renovate Niladri Vihar Museum, within the temple in a way to make it not only a place of attraction to the tourists but also to epitomize Jagannath Culture and the grandeur history of Odiya/Jagannath culture and tradition, thereby help create widespread awareness.
Battery Operated Vehicle (BOV) for senior citizens, specially- abled
Under the project, 25 Battery Operated Vehicles (BOVs) will be provisioned to transport the pilgrims from Jagannath Ballav Math to Shri Jagannath Temple free of cost and with utmost ease. The operation of BOV will ensure green energy in the City while enabling the pilgrims to go to the temple without smoothly. These vehicles will move from Jagannath Ballav Math, the current parking, to the Temple. The operation and maintenance of the vehicles over 5 years will be borne by NALCO. In addition, 2 BOVs have been provided to the Puri Railway station for the benefit of specially-abled, sick and senior citizens.
Providing Clean Water Posts
Puri being a coastal city of a tropical state of Odisha, the humidity level is very high during the summer which lasts for almost 6 months. During the festive season, which fall within the months of April to July, the temperature hover above 40 degree Celsius regularly. During this time, there are frequent cases of dehydration in the absence of adequate drinking water facilities. In what will bring relief to the visitors, clean water posts at 11 locations are being provided for visitors/pilgrims. The RO-based water posts are installed which will be maintained by the company for 5 years.
Slew of Initiatives in the pipeline
Construction of dormitory in the Maltipatapur Bus stand, development of toilets and locker facility at the bus stand
Development of Balia Panda Park
Development of the Heritage Corridor and Parikrama road
Multi-level vehicle parking
Art and Culture Museum • Beautification of Upabana inside Shree Jagannath Temple
Providing informative signage inside and outside Temple for pilgrims
Development of locker facility, landscaping and provisioning of Drinking water at Bus Stand near Gundicha Temple
Green Energy (Solar) Campus of Govt.’s Shree Jagannath Sanskrit Viswabidyalaya