Rising COVID cases among Puri Jagannath temple servitors put SJTA in straits

Puri: The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is considering to engage ‘Palia’ Servitors to perform rituals of deities at the Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri after as many as 450 servitors tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

As most of the servitors who tested positive are in home isolation, there is a shortage of servitors to perform rituals. However, there is no disruption in rituals at the temple so far, said a servitor, who is also member of the temple managing committee.

An official of SJTA said if more number of servitors test positive for the virus in coming days, there might an increase in concern for the temple administration. Discussions are on regarding appointment of the Palia servitors, the official added.

So far, a total of 9,704 positive cases has been detected in Puri district.

Earlier in the day, the Odisha government in an affidavit told the Orissa High Court about its unwillingness to allow opening of the Shree Jagannath Temple which has been shut for devotees since March.

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