Covid-19 lockdown: Union Minister Sarangi writes to CM, seeks package for temple priests

Nation Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister Pratap Sarangi has requested Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to come out with a compensation package for the priests and servitors of various temples under the State Endowment Authority.

In a letter to the Chief Minister on Saturday, Sarangi said, “Ever since the nation-wide lockdown and also week before when the advisory was issued by the Odisha Government to various temple administration to strictly adhere to social distancing norms by restricting the entry of devotees to temples, the priests and servitors of prominent temples such as Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri, Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar, Biraja Temple in jajpur, Tarini Temple in Ghatagaon, Khirachora Gopinath temple in Remuna and many others across the State have been facing financial distress.”

“In the absence of salary-based formal arrangement in our temples unlike other States, the priests and servitors mostly depend on modest offerings received from the visiting devotees for their daily living. And, in the lockdown period and due to complete suspension of temple visits by the devotees, they have been facing difficulties in feeding their families and also sustaining their traditional vocation,” said Sarangi, who hails from Odisha.

“I request you to issue instructions to the State’s Hindu Religious Endowment Authority to make an assessment of the ground position and come out with a compensation package for the priests and servitors of the temple under its charge, for their relief in this difficult time.

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