Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri to remain closed on weekends

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Puri, Apr 16 (PTI) In view of COVID-19 spike in Odisha, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Friday said the 12th-century shrine in Puri will remain closed for devotees on Saturdays and Sundays.

This was decided in a virtual meeting chaired by SJTA chief administrator Krishan Kumar and attended by District Collector Samarth Verma, Superintendent of Police Kanwar Vishal Singh, SJTA officials, and representatives of servitors.

The temple will remain closed for public darshan on Saturdays and Sundays as a measure to contain the spread of coronavirus and to sanitise the temple premises, Kumar said.

Detailed discussions were held on the implementation of guidelines laid down in the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for reopening of Shree Jagannath Temple as notified on December 22, 2020, and subsequent orders on January 11, 2021 and April 3, 2021, the SJTA chief administrator said.

The new SOP will come to effect from April 19, 2021.

'It was unanimously agreed that there is a need to bring more restrictions given the rapid spread of COVID-19 across India in the last few days,' he said.

All devotees from outside the coastal state will be required to produce a negative report of RT-PCR test, done 96 hours before their visit to the temple, or their final vaccination certificate.

Any other guideline issued by the state government for restrictions on persons coming from other states shall be scrupulously followed, he said.

As per the SOP, all devotees will be required to bring their photo ID cards, such as Aadhaar/ Voter ID or any other proof for their identification.

It will be mandatory for all pilgrims to wear masks both inside and outside the temple.

People flouting the norms will be fined if required, and will be refused entry to the temple, the SOP said.

The devotees will be allowed to have a darshan of the deities from the Bahara Katha (outer barricade) of the temple.

The SOP guidelines will be reviewed from time to time, keeping in mind the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI AAM MM MM