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Sharmili Mallick

Puri: With the surge in Covid-19 cases in the State, a massive disinfection drive was undertaken inside and outside the Lord Jagannath Temple complex in Puri on Sunday.

As per the latest Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), the 12th-century shrine in Puri will remain closed for devotees on Saturdays and Sundays for the sanitation drive in view of the rising cases of Covid-19 in Odisha.

However, the rituals of the temple will be carried out by the servitors as per schedule.

The Fire Services personnel along with the officials of Puri Municipality sanitized the temple complex, barricades, shoe stands and mobile stands near the Singhadwara of the temple.

“As per the SOP issued by the SJTA, the temple was completely sanitised by the fire services personnel in the morning. The temples of subordinate Gods and Goddesses inside the shrine were also sanitised,” said a sevayat of Srimandir.

Meanwhile, the SJTA has made RT-PCR negative report mandatory for pilgrims from outside the State for entry into the shrine from tomorrow i.e. April 17, as per the new norms.

“The decision has been taken to prevent the transmission of Coronavirus in the devotees and staff of the temple,” added the sevayat.

All devotees coming in from other states will have to produce Covid-19 negative reports generated within 96 hours of their entry. Alternatively, those who have received both doses of vaccine can produce the vaccination certificate for entry into the shrine. However, locals have been exempted from this norm.

Devotees will have to produce Aaadhar or photo ID cards at the Singhadwar. The devotees could enter the temple through Singhadwar in queue through barricades and must exit through other three gates.

Devotees will have to wear masks at all time, inside & outside the temple. People flouting the norms will be fined if required, and will be refused entry to the temple. Darshan of the Lords will be allowed only from Bahara Katha.

Devotees should sanitize their hands before entering and maintain physical distance at all times. They have also been asked to not touch statues or idols inside the Jagannath temple.

Lighting of diyas inside the temple by the devotees will not be permitted at all. The devotees will be allowed to take Mahaprasad inside Ananda Bazaar and temple premises at designated places only.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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