Pradeep Pattanayak

Revenue Minister Pramila Mallik’s boat ride despite ban and that too without life jacket at Dhabaleswar Temple in Athgarh of Cuttack district has triggered a controversy. 

The said temple is located on an island in the Mahanadi River and to reach the shrine, there is a hanging bridge. With the hanging bridge to the Dhabaleswar Temple being closed for the people, a temporary road has been constructed for devotees to go to the shrine on the occasion of Maha Shivratri today. Boat ride to the shrine is also banned. 

On the occasion of Maha Shivratri, while people were seen walking to the shrine, the Revenue Minister along with some of her relatives was spotted travelling in a boat to the shrine. Most importantly, they did not have life jackets on them. 

As the images surfaced, it triggered many questions including how the Minister was permitted to go to the shrine in a boat? Is there a separate rule for the lawmaker? Even though she went to the shrine in a boat why she forgot to wear life jacket and other safety gears? 

“At a time when devotees are covering the distance on foot and some are fainting, these babus are coming to the shrine and after having prasad, returning in boats.  They seem little bothered about the devotees who need medical attention,” said a devotee. 

Expressing her concern, a female devotee said, “We reached the shrine walking 4 to 5 kilometers. On our way back, we sought boat facility as we were feeling exhausted. The boat was carrying VIPs but we were denied. The rule should be equal to all.”

“There's no boat facility for general public. But the same is available for divyangs, senior citizens and VIPs. The administration has taken this decision,” said SDPO, Choudwar, Satyabrata Lenka.

No comments have been received from Minister Pramila Mallik in this regard.


(Reported Nilakantha Dora, OTV)