All the four gates of of Puri’s Jagannath Temple have been opened for the devotees on Thursday, June 13. Chief minister Mohan Charan Manjhi, along with his ministers, Puri MP Sambit Patra, Balasore MP Pratap Chandra Sarangi and other leaders also arrived at the temple in the morning. Odisha’s newly formed Bharatiya Janata Party government had announced to open all the gates of the revered shrine.

Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha.(File)

Manjhi, in its first cabinet meeting on Wednesday, approved the proposal to reopen all the gates of the holy shrine for devotees, which had been closed since the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The cabinet also announced the setting up of a corpus fund worth 500 crore for the 12th-century shrine’s upkeep and development.

“During the elections, we had said that we would reopen all 4 gates… All four gates of the temple are going to be opened today. All members of the Council Ministers are present here. The CM is also present… A corpus fund worth Rs. 500 crores has also been announced for development projects… We took the oath yesterday and we are opening the gates today,” Odisha minister Suryabanshi Suraj said to ANI.

There are four gates of the temple– Simhadwara (Lion Gate), Ashwadwara (Horse Gate), Vyaghradwara (Tiger Gate),and Hastidwara (Elephant Gate) – located on the four sides of the temple. The doors were shut during the Covid pandemic. Later, the devotees were allowed to enter the temple through Simhadwara, while other gates remained closed, resulting in huge rush and long queues. Opening all the gates of Jagannath Temple was among the big election promises of the BJP.

“The state government decided to re-open all the four gates of the Puri Jagannath temple in early morning in the presence of all ministers. Devotees will have access to the temple through all four gates,” Majhi said.

Meanwhile, the Odisha cabinet has also approved a new policy for farmers, setting a minimum support price (MSP) for paddy at 3100 per quintal, to be implemented within the next 100 days. Another notable initiative, the Subhadra Yojana, will provide cash vouchers of 50,000 to each woman, with directives given to the concerned department to roll out this program in the same timeframe.

On Wednesday, Majhi took oath as the first BJP chief minister of Odisha at a ceremony in Bhubaneswar, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Union ministers and chief ministers.

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