The Shri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee on Tuesday approved the 12th-century shrine’s 2020-21 annual budget of Rs 154 crore, officials said.
The budget was approved during a meeting chaired by Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb.
“There has been a significant decline in the temple’s income but its expenditure has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar said.
Apart from daily expenditure in the temple, the SJTA also has to spend on setting up COVID care homes and on other related activities, he said.
“We have decided to urge devotees to donate online to the temple fund to meet the gap,” Mr Kumar said.
The participants also discussed Lord Jagannath’s ”Nagarjuna Besha”, rituals during the holy Kartika month and welfare programmes for servitors, he said.
On the proposal of reopening the temple for the public, Mr Kumar said, “A discussion will be held again with the Chhatisa Nijog (group of servitors). It will take around four weeks for preparations to reopen the shrine.”
The SJTA also has to get the state government’s permission for reopening the temple, he said.
Law Minister Pratap Jena said the government is aware of the demand for reopening the temple but the decision will be taken keeping in view the COVID-19 situation.
Sources, however, said the state government is unlikely to give a green signal for reopening temples as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has cautioned people of a possible second wave of COVID-19 cases during winter.
He had said the people of Odisha need to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines after returning from places like Delhi, Kerala and European countries.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)