Making Srimandir beggar-free Herculean task: SJTA

Puri: The district administration and Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) are yet to take stern action against beggars and others who seek alms from devotees on Srmandir premises.

The SJTA has also failed to shift beggars from the Lions’ Gate of the 12th century shrine to elsewhere, causing utter inconvenience to devotees, sources claimed.

The administration had decided to take steps to check begging inside Srimandir and relocate beggars from the Lions’ Gate last year. It was also planned to make the temple premises free from stray cattle. The SJTA has also constituted a special squad to chase the alms seekers (colloquially known as Mageta) away from the shrine. However, the district administration and the temple authorities have failed to curb the nagging issues of alms seeking and begging in and around Srimandir.

However, members of the special squad are facing a tough task in identifying people seeking alms inside the temple and taking action against them. “It is tough to identify such people on the temple premises during festivities,” said a source in the SJTA.

It is learnt that many alms seekers harassed the devotees on the temple premises during the celebration of Janmastami September 2. On being informed, SJTA officials and members of the special squad caught at least 50 people for seeking money from devotees. However, all these alms seekers were let off with a warning.

Sources claimed that the temple authorities had also caught several such people during the celebration of Nandotsav September 3.

“Beggars at the Lions’ Gate of Srimandir often hurl abuses at devotees and harass them when the latter refuse to give money. Many devotees return home with a bad impression on the Holy City,” said a social activist.

1 kg gold for Lord’s legs

Puri: One kg of yellow metal will be used for the urgent repair of golden legs of Lord Jagannath used during Suna Besha, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) sources said Thursday. “The plates underneath the legs are worn out. An inspection by a goldsmith revealed that around one kilogram of gold will be used to repair them,” the SJTA source said, adding that the temple administration would issue a circular following which the repair work will start. Earlier, one of these legs was repaired at Nabhikata Mandap during the last Suna Besha. Around 800 gram of gold was used for the purpose.