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Ramakanta Biswas

Puri: Barely a week after an inspector-in-charge had stirred a controversy by entering Lord Jagannath temple amid the ongoing restrictions imposed in view of novel-Coronavirus, a contractor and his associate also reportedly entered the 12-century shrine despite strict restrictions.

According to sources, the contractor along with another person visited the shrine yesterday for construction of Jala Krida Mandap. The visit of the duo was captured in the CCTV cameras installed at the main gate of the shrine.

The incident has now sparked criticism from all and sundry with some welfare associations questioning the role of the Srimandir administration.

Speaking on the issue, senior servitor Binayak Das Mohapatra said, “As the concerned contractor came from Bhubaneswar which is a COVID-19 hotspot, it need to be ascertained that whether he was tested for Coronavirus or not. Because, if any servitor is infected, the disease will spread to the entire society as the Rath Yatra is on cards. The administration should look into the matter.”

Prasanna Kumar Das, president of Sachetan Nagarika Manch, also raised concerns over the incident. “Whether his health screening was conducted and from whom did he take permission to enter the shrine. If he had informed the district authorities or temple administration, how was he was permitted to enter the shrine during such a situation especially a few weeks before the most important festival of the Holy Trinity."

On the other hand, Pujapanda Nojog secretary Madhab Pujapanda said, “We do not know where he came from. We just wanted the works of Lord Jagannath are completed.”

The Srimandir administration as well as the concerned contractor could not be reached for comment.

It can be mentioned here that inspector-in-charge of Badachana police station in Jajpur district, Deepak Kumar Jena was suspended for entering Srimandir along with three other women stated to be his family members in violation of lockdown guidelines. The cop was found to have travelled to Puri along with his family members in a stolen SUV.



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