Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: The process has formally started to reopen temples and other religious in Odisha for public after these places remained open since March when nationwide lockdown was ordered in the wake the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
State Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy on Monday clarified that the State government had earlier empowered District Collectors to take local level decisions to open religious institutions for public worship after discussing with stakeholders and putting standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place.
“It is understood that the process is on for opening religious institutions in different districts,” said Tripathy in his tweet on Monday morning.
It was on October 8 that the State government had asked the Jagannath temple administration in Puri and other major temples to prepare plan of action for opening temples for worshippers adhering to COVID-19 regulations.
Tripathy’s tweet comes three days after the Chhatisha Nijog held a meeting under the chairmanship of Krishan Kumar, Chief Administrator, Shree Jagannatha Temple Administration, Puri.
The meeting had decided to recommend for reopening of temple for darshan by devotees from December 23 in a gradual and phased manner. “Detailed SOPs to be issued, the SJTA had said.
It was decided at the SJTA meeting that only people of Puri will be allowed darshan for the first four-five days when the Jagannath temples reopens. The temple, however, will remain shut for ‘darshan’ on January 1 and 2 during which it witnesses heavy rush. The temple may formally reopen from January 3 onwards by allowing about 5,000 devotees a day initially for a week.
The temples and religious places in other parts of the State may open for the public after different districts hold discussion with stakeholders, according to official sources.
Earlier, the servitors at various major temples across Odisha had approached the government to order reopening of all shrines in adherence to the COVID-19 restrictions.