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Sharmili Mallick

Puri: With Covid-19 second wave spreading fast and furious in the State, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Friday issued a revised standard operating procedure (SOP) for Srimandir which will come to effect from April 24.

As per the fresh guidelines, the Jagannath Temple will remain open on all days of the week except Saturdays and Sundays.

A discussion in this regard was taken in a virtual meeting of the Chhatisa Nijog today in presence of SJTA Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar, District Collector Samarth Verma, SP Kanwar Vishal Singh and representatives of servitors.

“The temple will be closed for two days- on Saturdays and Sundays, which will come into effect from next Saturday. Besides, no one will be allowed inside the shrine without mask and fines will be collected from violators,” informed a sevayat of Srimandir, Gourahari Pradhan after the virtual Chhatisa Nijog meeting.

In order to avoid gathering inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, devotees will be allowed darshan from Bahar Katha, said sevayat of Srimandir

Discussion was also held on the arrangements of kiosks for conducting Covid tests of pilgrims and mandatory production of Covid-19 negative report for entry to the shrine.

“Devotees from outside Odisha will have to mandatorily produce RT-PCR negative report or final vaccination certificate (after two doses of vaccination) for entry into the shrine. However, restrictions on people from Puri have not been taken yet,” added Pradhan.

The Chhatisa Nijog is also taking consultation from stakeholders and representative of various organizations on closing the temple for devotees, if situation arises.

“The servitors who have visited Kumbha Mela in Haridwar will have to undergo Covid-19 test. A seven-member committee will be formed to ensure people adhere to Covid appropriate behavior inside the temple premises,” said Pradhan.

“Decision regarding the closure of temple will be taken, if situation arises,” added the sevayat.
It may be noted that on Thursday as many as 10 members of the servitor families, five Srimandir employees and 10 staff of the Sri Jagannath temple shoe stand were found infected with Covid-19 so far.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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