Bhubaneswar: The Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri will remain closed for public darshan till May 15, 2021. All the daily rituals will continue with help of sevayats and temple officials, informed the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Saturday.
Keeping in mind the upward trend of the second wave of Covid-19, SJTA Chief, Krishan Kumar, held a meeting today with senior sevayats of various Nijogs, Puri Collector Samarth Verma, SP Kanwar Vishal Singh, and other temple officials.
The grave challenge posed by COVID-19 was discussed in detail in the meeting. All were of the unanimous view that necessary steps must be taken to ensure continuity of age-old traditions of Niti-Kanti (rituals) of Lord Jagannath.
As sevayats do daily Seva-puja of the Lord and rituals related to Ratha Yatra will begin from Akashya Tritiya day (On 15th May this year), any spread of COVID-19 amongst the sevayat families will be detrimental to the observance of ensuing Festivals.
Keeping the same in mind, the following was decided:
1. Shree Jagannatha Temple will remain closed for Darshan of Lords by the public till 15/05/21. All the daily rituals will continue with help of Sevayats and temple officials.
2. Regular screening and testing for Sevayat Families and Temple Officials will be taken up to ensure that cases of COVID-19 amongst them are detected at an early date and are provided effective treatment.
3. COVID care center made operational at Niladri Bhakt Niwas will be further strengthened as per requirement. Constant review of the same will be taken up.
4. Arrangements for shifting of serious cases for treatment to Bhubaneswar will be ensured seamlessly. Administrator – Development will act as Nodal Officer from Temple Administration side. Arrangements are being made at SUM and other Hospitals in Bhubaneswar.
5. Awareness programs to continue to popularise the use of Masks, Sanitisers, Physical Distancing.
6. Focus for Vaccination will be on those who are involved in daily Seva-Puja of the Mahaprabhu and also those involved in the construction of Ratha.
7. All preparations for Construction of Chariots – Rathas to continue as per traditions. SJTA will take advance steps for procurement of Masks and Sanitisers for use during Chandan Yatra, Snana Yatra, and Ratha Yatra.
It was decided to review the evolving situation again on May 6, 2021.