Due to shut down of the temples in Odisha for eight months; now the priests are finding it difficult to survive. The Odisha government announced earlier that all the religious place would be closed till further notice. But the priests, whose entire livelihood depended on the income of the donation of the devotees, now find it challenging to survive.
The priests started protesting by making the sound of the gongs and rings in front of the temples against the non- opening of the temples. The life of all the priests is in miserable conditions as before COVID-19 they use to earn from the donations made by the devotees. But now with no devotees, they are broke down and facing food shortage because of the no monthly income. Some had to borrow money from their relatives and friends, and some are making money by selling vegetables and other household stuff.
The festive season usually starts from August, but because of the COVID-19 guidelines, no such big celebrations are allowed which in return is giving lots of loss to the temple and the priests. Apart from the regular income from the temples, the priests usually called to personal home puja. But with the fear of the virus, devotees are not willing to organise puja and postponing it to next year.
To pacify anger in Shree Jagannath Temples, Puri and the Lingaraj temple, Bhubaneswar, where a vast number of priests are organised, the government has issued some instalments of ₹5,000 in the past couple of months. However, no package has declared for other priests in the State.
With the current financial crises, the priests are urging the state government to take some urgent steps to open the temples. Even they are insisting that the priests will follow every COVID guidelines in the temple. Only the reopening of the temple will solve the financial problem facing by the priests right now.
Recently the State Government initiated to take some step to open the temples. Asit Tripathy, Chief Secretary, earlier tweeted – “Districts Collectors were asked to consider the possibility of opening up places of worship for the public of all religious faiths where compliance to guidelines is feasible and report to the government. They may prefer graded opening to containing the disease,”
Article Written by Dikhya Mohanty
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