Odisha: Puri’s Jagannath Temple bans ‘paan’, ‘gutka’, other tobacco products on premises from next year

Authorities of Puri’s Jagannath Temple have announced a complete ban on the consumption of tobacco-related products like ‘paan’ and ‘gutka’ on the premises from January 1, 2024.

Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator Ranjan Kumar Das announced this decision on Wednesday. Das said the ban will be strictly implemented for devotees, servitors, and temple employees.

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The temple authorities will first create awareness over non-consumption of the tobacco products and from 1 January 2024, the penalty will be imposed on the offenders.

“Awareness over non-consumption of ‘paan’ and ‘gutka’ on the temple premises will be carried out in November and December, while the prohibition will come into force from January 1. Penalty will be imposed on the offenders,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

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The SJTA has also written to the ‘Chhattisa Nijog’ (apex body of servitors) over the matter.

Though there is the provision of penalty for consumption of such items inside the temple compound, “no one was obeying the rule”, it said in a letter to the servitors’ body.

Last month, the SJTA said it would enforce a dress code for devotees from January 1.

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People wearing half-plants, shorts, torn jeans, skirts, and sleeveless dresses will not be allowed entry into the Jagannath temple, Das had said.

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Last week, 10 devotees fainted as a heavy rush of visitors thronged inside the Jagannath Temple.

According to preliminary information, about a dozen devotees were reported to have taken ill and ten of them fainted soon after ‘Mangal Aarati’ in the temple. They fell down as the crowd of devotees surged inside. They were given preliminary treatment in the Temple and then shifted to Puri hospital.

Puri superintendent of police KV Singh said, “There was rush in the temple but no stampede. A total 15 platoons (450 personnel) of the police were deployed to control the crowd. Their number will be increased keeping in view the rush of devotees.”

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Updated: 15 Nov 2023, 08:02 AM IST

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