Tobacco to be banned inside Jagannath temple

Betel leaves and tobacco will be banned inside the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri (DH Photo)

Betel leaves and tobacco will be banned inside the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri from Thursday and violators will have to pay a fine of Rs 500, a senior temple official said.

The decision was taken during a Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) meeting on Monday to ensure cleanliness at the 12th-century shrine, he said.

"Any devotee or temple staffer found chewing tobacco or betel leaves will be barred from entering the premises and a fine of Rs 500 will be imposed on them," P K Mohapatra, Chief Administrator of the SJTA, said. The SJTA will set up boards around the temple to create awareness among the public about the new rule, he said.

Another official said that guards posted at the temple gates will frisk the devotees and temple staffers to prevent them from carrying the banned items inside the premises.

Lapses and irregularities observed during the Rath Yatra festival along with repair work of the temple were also discussed in the meeting, the official said. 

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