Odisha begins Preparations for Reopening of Religious Places

The Odisha government has commenced the process for the reopening of various religious places across the state, after months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This reopening plan comes into action after the state saw a gradual decline in COVID-19 positive cases. All the public places of worship were closed since March 22 following the outbreak of the virus.

Chief secretary Asit Tripathy, mentioned in a tweet that the collectors have been given the authority to decide on the reopening of religious institutions in their respective districts after discussing with the stakeholders and preparing standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“The state government has earlier empowered Collectors to take local level decisions to open religious institutions for public worship after discussing with stakeholders & putting SoPs in place. It is understood that the process is on for opening religious institutions in different districts”, he tweeted.

The demand for reopening of the religious centres like temples, churches, and mosques was made by the general public a few months back.

Meanwhile, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has asked the state government’s approval for reopening of the Jagannath Temple in Puri for the devotees in a graded manner from December 23. After a meeting of the Chattisa Nijog (apex body of temple servitors), it has been decided that the devotees of Puri district will be initially allowed to visit the deities, while the devotees outside the district will be allowed to visit the temple from January 3.

A maximum of 5000 devotees will be allowed in a day to visit and worship Lord Jagannath and his siblings.

Currently, the number of COVID-19 positive cases is at 3,24,089 in the state, out of which 3,19,069 persons have recovered. The total number of active cases is 3,156, and as many as 1811 people have succumbed to the virus so far.

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