Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Feb 9:
Keeping the massive rush of devotees during Nabakalebara in Odisha’s Puri town scheduled in June this year, in mind, the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has decided to stop sale of ‘abhada’ (cooked food) for the Lords inside the temple premises.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting convened by the SJTA here on Saturday following the directive of the Odisha High Court.
The court had issued the directive after hearing a PIL in which the petitioner had alleged that the devotees were facing trouble inside the temple due to sale of abhada in and around Anand Bazar inside the temple premises.
The meeting presided over by the SJTA chief administrator and RDC Bikash Chandra Mohapatra, was attended by the members of the Suara and Mahasuar Nijog, Puri collector Arvind Agrawal and SP Ashish Kumar Singh.
As per the decision taken at the meeting, the supakaras (sellers of abhada and other dry foods and sweets) would henceforth sell the abhada from inside their shops at Anand Bazar.
It was also decided that the Supakaras will have to renew the registration of their shops inside Anand Bazar by February 15 by giving details of their sale failing which the Temple administration would cancel their lease and shops would be allotted to the bidders through tender.
Besides, the meeting also decided to stop sale of ‘tanka torani’ (watered rice) inside the temple. “We have requested the Suara Mahasuar Nijog to cooperate the temple administration in identifying the non-servitors who would not be allowed to sale ‘abhada’ inside the temple.
“The proposal to sell ‘abhada’ from the shops inside Anand Bazar is right. But as the sale was going on outside the area of Anand Bazar, we had apprised the temple authorities of the problem and requested them to take a decision in this regard, said Bhagaban Suara, president of the Nijog.
According to Krushna Chandra Mohapatra, treasurer of the Nijog, the original area of Anand Bazar has been squeezed due to construction of permanent structures. “If these structures are removed, we would accommodate the sellers inside the Bazar premises so that the periphery area would remain clean and open,” he added.