Paan-Gutkha Ban With Rs 1K Fine At Puri Jagannath Temple From January 1

Puri: A blanket ban on paan and gutkha will be imposed on the premises of Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s pilgrim town of Puri and draw a fine of Rs 1,000 from January 1 next year, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Chief Administrator Ranjan Kumar Das informed on Tuesday.

The temple administration has written to the Chhatisha Nijog in this regard, mentioning about the prevailing provision of penalty on consumption/use of tobacco-related products inside the 12th-century shrine. The SJTA stated that the norms were not being strictly enforced and empty gutkha packets, paan spits and other polythene were found lying on the premises, which was against the sanctity of the temple.

The temple administration has also urged its staff, servitors of the temple and devotees not to consume pan and gutkha inside the temple. The paan stained walls of all the temples within the premises also present a sorry picture, Das said, while citing religious texts ‘Varaha Purana’ and ‘Niladri Mahodaya’ that stress on the importance of maintaining cleanliness at the shrine.

Apart from paan and gutkha, flowers and bhoga in polythene will not be allowed inside the temple. Awareness on the same will be created and the prohibition will come into force from January 1. “Apart from CCTVs, the Jagannath Temple Police will keep an eye on anyone found throwing gutka packets, polythene or chewing paan or any other tobacco products inside the shrine. We will put up posters urging people not to do so. From January 1, anyone found doing so will be fined Rs 1,000,” the temple administrator said.

Around 170 CCTV cameras will be installed all across the temple by the New Year, he added.

It was in 2019 that the SJTA had decided to put a ban on betel leaves and tobacco products, including gutka, as spitting inside the premises had become a menace. A devotee found with any of these prohibited items inside the premises had to pay Rs 500 as penalty.

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