Puri: In a welcome move for the cash starved servitors of Puri Srimandir who are reeling under the lockdown enforced in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak in the country, the top managing body of the shrine, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration on Friday announced an incentive package of Rs 5000 to each servitor of the temple.
Informing about the development, the administrator in charge of the rituals at the 12th century temple, Jitendra Sahu said financial assistance of Rs 5000 will be transferred to the bank accounts of servitors under Direct Benefits Transfer scheme.
The announcement came on the heels of an OTV report highlighting the plight of servitors who have gone severely cash strapped due to the ongoing lockdown.
It may be noted that the primary income of the servitors is donations they receive from devotees. Initially even though the servitors welcomed the decision to restrict entry of devotees inside temple to prevent spread of COVID-19, the extension of 21-day lockdown declared by the Union government till 3rd of May has come as a blow for the community.
“Without donations from devotees, they are going through extreme financial hardship. So we have decided to provide financial aid to all the servitor families (2130 families) who are religiously serving the Holy Trinity in Srimandir. A total amount of Rs 1, 06, 50,000 will be disbursed to servitor families in this regard," said Sahu.
Ananta Tiadi, a senior servitor as well as a member of the temple managing committee said, “The families are completely reliant on the donations of pilgrims to make their ends meet but since the amount of Rs 5000 sanctioned by the administration for each family is not enough, we will request the administration to increase the assistance."