Odisha: Puri temple committee seeks government approval for Rath chariot construction

BHUBANESWAR: Although uncertainty still envelops Puri Rath Yatra on June 23 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the state government is likely to grant permission to begin car construction. In a significant development, the Jagannath Temple (MC) Administrative Committee sought government approval Monday to allow construction work on the chariots.

The servants had consecrated chariot timbers inside the Jagannath temple on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya on April 26. Although car manufacturing always begins at Akshaya Tritiya, this time construction work has been suspended in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The MC said that the construction of three giant chariots for Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra normally takes 40-45 days to complete. An additional wait (until the end of the prolonged blockade on May 17) may hamper and delay construction work.

“We have already missed a few days since Akshaya Tritiya on April 26. The construction of the car takes a long time. Any hasty work can affect the quality of the cars. We have proposed to the government to allow us to start the construction of cars. Although the Center and the state government have banned religious activities, car-building work is not a religious function. Since Puri enters the green zone, there is no harm in starting the car building work, ”said committee chairman and Puri king Dibyasingha Deb, adding that carpenters (Maharana and Bhoi sevaks) can do the I work keeping social distance.

Deb said that if the government, based on the post-May 17 situation at Covid-19 in the state, decides not to house Rath Yatra, the temple administration will obey the order. We will move forward with building the car only after obtaining permission from the state government. At the time the government decides to cancel Rath Yatra, construction work on the car will stop. The chariot beams will be dismantled and taken to the temple kitchen for use as firewood, ”said Dibyasingha Deb.

Other MC members and servers said the government should keep Rath Yatra on a restricted basis. “We proposed to the MC President and the state government that they welcome Rath Yatra without the participation of devotees. Cars can be thrown in the presence of servers and police personnel, ”said MC member Ramachandra Dasmohapatra.