Even as the Odisha government has given a go-ahead in reopening of temples and mutts across the State from August in its revised guidelines, Odisha Temple Servitors’ Association has turned down the government’ authorisation to the Collectors regarding temple and mutt affairs in their respective jurisdiction.
The Government, in its August guidelines released Saturday, had stated clearly that Collectors are the appropriate authority to take decision on allowing devotees to the temple, places of worship and other religious institutions. However, offering of Prasad inside a temple/ religious places has been completely banned.
The government's move didn’t go down well with the servitors’ association in the State, which demanded revised guidelines in the temple reopening matter.
“The government has allowed opening of mall, bars, swimming pools, restaurants, cinema halls and theatres. But, why it has put the ball in the court of district Collectors in case of reopening of temples and mutts? , asked Kameswar Tripathy, President of Odisha Temple Servitors’ Association.
Tripathy, who is also a priest at Haribaldevjew temple at Baripada, known as Dwitiya Srikhetra, further said the State government had taken similar decision last year, authorising Collectors to decide on opening of temples and mutt in their respective jurisdiction. But, they didn’t allow the temple and mutts to open that time either.
Finally, the State government had permitted the reopening of temple in January only after several protests and agitations by the servitors, he added.
“How the Collectors take such decision while the same could not be decided by the government? How can we expect a favourable response from the district administration which had failed to take a call on reopening of shrines last year? Tripathy questioned.
The government is depriving the devotees of the darshan of God, he alleged.
The servitors’ association would soon meet the Collectors in every district, demanding to take a call in the matter of temple reopening.
Many servitors, who run their families from the donation collected from devotees, are finding it hard to make their ends meet as the shrines across the State have remained closed for the public,” Tripathy added