Puri: Puri Jagannath temple is unlikely to reopen before November as most of the servitors expressed their opinion against the proposal during their discussions with the temple administration via video conferencing here today
According to sources most of the servitors are of the view that the shrine should be closed for the devotees till Covid-19 vaccine comes to the market.
“If the entry of the devotees is allowed into the temple, Covid-19 infection among the servitor communities will rise further and the rituals of the Lords will be hindered,” stated senior servitor Rama Chandra Das Mohapatra.
“Nearly 500 servitors have been infected with Covid-19 so far and around 18 of them have already succumbed to the virus. The rest of the servitors are already overburdened with the intricate rituals in the temple. Any further increase in the positive cases will make it more difficult to continue the rituals. So the temple should be closed till the holy month of Kartika (November),” Said Das Mohapatra.
In the meantime, the servitors also demanded monetary compensation from the administration as the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on their financial condition.
“Our livelihood is at stake. Most of the servitors have been infected with Covid-19. Their physical and mental health has been deteriorated. They are unable to afford their treatment costs post infection along with the family budget. The temple administration should provide us monetary compensation,” demanded another senior servitor Madhab Chandra Mohapatra.
Earlier, some Sevayatas of Lord Jagannath Temple had staged a protest on Tuesday demanding the reopening of the 12th-century shrine for devotees.
The State Government had decided to shut down Jagannath temple in March this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the temple has remained closed since then. Only servitors are allowed inside the temple to perform the rituals.
(Edited by Suryakant Jena)