Odisha Fights Corona: Union Minister Calls For Holding Puri Rath Yatra In Restricted Manner

Bhubaneswar: Amid the apprehension over holding the Rath Yatra in Puri due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Union Minister of State for MSME, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairy Pratap Sarangi has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to conduct the festival by respecting the emotions and religious sentiments of the devotees.

In a letter, the senior BJP leader said recent media reports concerning coronavirus has cast a shadow on the celebration of the grand festival of the Lords and this has deeply disturbed the people of Odisha as well as millions of devotees across the world.

Stating that the present situation in the state will affect the festival in terms of the massive congregation of devotees, Sarangi said that amidst the restrictions, the festival should be organized as it has a deep and abiding emotional connect with the lives of the people and shaped the unique cultural identity of Odisha.

Appreciating the efforts of the state government in sensitizing the people to maintain social distancing to contain the spread of the virus, the Union minister requested the Chief Minister to dispel the misgivings that emerge in the public domain by issuing clear-cut instructions to the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to hold extensive consultations with the Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth, Puri Gajapati Maharaja, Mukti Mandap scholars, Daitapatis, temple servitors and others before deciding the nature and scale of Rath Jatra celebrations this year.

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