Vikash Sharma

When will all the four gates of Puri Jagannath temple be reopened for devotees? When will the wait in long queues for hours together come to an end? Such questions were raised during the crucial Chhattisa Nijog meeting held at Puri.

It is pertinent to mention here that the three gates of the sacred shrine were closed following controversy over the queue system and subsequent violence. This has now led to resentment among the local residents of Puri as they are facing hardship in getting darshan of Lord Jagannath and the sibling deities.

At the Chhattisa Nijog meeting, management committee members and senior servitors put forth their demands for the reopening of three more gates of the Jagannath temple. The devotees, who used to enter the Anand Bazaar through the northern gate for Maha Prasad, are now facing difficulties. The servitors are demanding to allow local residents by checking their Aadhaar cards through all the four gates of the Srimandir.

“Puri residents should be allowed to enter Puri Srimandir by producing Aadhaar cards. I had raised the demand for reopening of all gates as many residents are facing problems in having darshan. When the parikrama project is complete, we will certainly take steps to allow residents through other doors other than Singhadwara,” said senior servitor, Durgaprasad Dasmohapatra.

The former president of Suar Mahasuar Nijog, Damodar Mahasuar also alleged that the employees of the Srimandir administration are exploiting the devotees coming to the temple. It is alleged that devotees are allowed to enter through the Ghantidwara. Though there is now a provision to allow devotees through the barricades, some employees of the administration and JTP are allegedly allowing devotees illegally by taking money from them.

Senior servitor Damodar Mahasuar alleged, "The employees are collecting thousands of rupees from the devotees through such illegal means. Such personnel are remaining in the good books by allowing family members of senior officials and businessmen through different lines."

Ranjan Kumar, Chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) said, "Discussions were held on the reopening of four gates and other allegations. A decision will be taken at the earliest as the outer axis road of the Parikrama Project will be handed over by May 30. After reviewing the matter with the district administration and security measures, appropriate action will be taken.”

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