Puri temple bans paan and gutkha inside shrine

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The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has imposed a ban on chewing of paan (betel) and tobacco products like gutkha inside the popular 12th century Hindu temple.

The ban order will be applicable for everybody entering the temple including the sebayats (servitors) and SJTA staff members as well as the devotees.

The violators will be fined Rs 500. Lakhs of devotees from across the country pay their visit to the important shrine every day.

The ban order, in fact, has already come into effect from August 1, a SJTA official said adding that on the first day itself the guards manning the temple gates seized several packets of gutkha and paan from the devotees.

Besides, on the first day of the ban order, four persons were caught and fined for chewing paan inside the shrine premises. They included one servitor.

“As it was the first day of implementation of the ban order, the four violators were let off with a Rs 100 fine each and a warning. However, henceforth there will be no relaxation and those who will be violating the order would have to cough up Rs 500”, the SJPT official said.

The temple authorities have also put in place signboards near the shrine to create awareness among the devotees and visitors about the SJTA’s new rule.

Besides, the ban order is being announced at regular intervals every day through loudspeakers from the temple's information centre.

The ban decision was taken by the Odisha government-appointed SJTA at its recently held meeting to ensure cleanliness inside the temple. Spitting inside the shrine premises by paan and gutkha chewers had become a major menace.

Earlier, the temple administration had imposed a ban on the use of mobile phones inside the shrine.

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