Challenges galore for differently-abled devotees at Puri Srimandir

Puri: With a hope to have darshan of Lord Jagannath, divyang Premlata Das had come all the way from Bolangir to Puri. However, she failed to seek the blessings as the sole ramp at the temple is lying defunct.

Not only Das, several other differently-abled devotees coming to Puri Srimandir from far flung areas of Odisha and outside are now deprived of darshan of Lord Jagannath, leading to resentment among them.

“I had come to Puri with a lot of hope, but couldn’t enter the temple,” said Das.

Nabaghan, another devotee alleged that earlier there was a provision of wheel chairs for divyang devotees. However, no such help was offered to Nabaghan he reached the temple today.

It is pertinent to mention here that the temple administration in 2015 had come up with a specially-laid ramp to facilitate the entry of differently-abled devotees.

According to sources, a 50-metre-long and six-foot wide ramp was installed at the North gate for the differently-abled devotees at an estimated cost of Rs 5 lakh. However, the facility has become defunct within three years.

Senior servitor, Jagabandhu Pujapanda also admitted that devotees are having a harrowing time at the temple.

However, chief administrator (rituals), Pradeep Kumar Das on the other hand maintained that divyangs should contact the branch office and action will be taken against those who refuse to help. “All the allegations devotees not getting help are completely baseless,” said Das.