Puri: The district administration of Puri has banned the age-old ritual of burning of Kaunriya Kathi (jute sticks) in front of Singhadwar during Diwali this year.
The decision to ban the practice this year was taken to prevent air pollution caused by the smoke that emanates from the burning of the jute sticks which could possibly aggravate the Covid-19 situation. Keeping this in mind, the administration has urged people to only observe ‘Paya Sraddha’ and return home without lighting Kaunriya Kathis.
People can observe ‘Paya Sraddha’ as usual to pay obeisance to their ancestors, but will not be allowed to burn Kaunriya Kathi outside the Srimandir, informed Puri Sub-Collector Bhabataran Sahu.
“As there is possibility of huge smoke due to burning of Kaunriya Kathi, the ritual has been completely banned this year to prevent worsening of the pandemic situation. Covid-19 patients as well as others will be affected by the smoke. Therefore, we urge the people to perform rituals at their home, if possible,” Sahu said.
Every year, Puri witnesses a huge gathering on the day of Diwali as people observe 'Badabadua Daka' to pay obeisance to their ancestors. Hundreds of people gather around Srimandir on the evening of Diwali and perform Paya Sradha and light Kaunriya Kathi.
The burning of jute sticks is accompanied by a prayer 'Badabadua Ho Andhaare Aasa, Aalua Re Jao (Ancestors, come in darkness and go back along the lighted path).
(Edited By Devbrat Patnaik)