Bhubaneswar: With the foundation stone of the Srimandir Heritage Corridor Project laid on Wednesday, quadriplegic actor and disability rights activist from Odisha, Jitendra Biswal, has reiterated the demand for wheelchair access to the temple.
“The disabled community of our country has had a long-standing demand to make the Puri Sree Mandir wheelchair accessible so that wheelchair-bound devotees of Prabhu Jagannath can also go and have His Darshan as and when they wish without any trouble like other able-bodied people,” said Biswal.
He had earlier appealed to the State Government and approached the Puri Collector a few months back. The Collector had assured to look into the matter and see what he can be done about it, but no step has been taken so far.
Now that the massive Shri Jagannath Temple Heritage Corridor project is being taken up, he expects that the much needed yet much delayed issue of ensuring wheelchair access in Puri Sree Mandir for Prabhu Jagannath Darshan also be addressed because wheelchair-bound devotees of Lord Jagannath have as much a desire to behold Him seated on His Ratna Singhasan as anybody else out there.
It is worthwhile to mention that at present, physically challenged people are allowed to go on wheelchairs up to Singha Dwara (Lion’s Gate) in front of the temple. But they face problems getting entry into the temple as they are not allowed to take the wheelchair inside.