Priests of a 1000-year-old temple in Odisha's Jagatsinghpur district have stopped performing puja of two wheelers if the riders are not equipped with helmets.
The management of the temple of Goddess Maa Sarala abiding by police instructions started implementing the no helmet-no puja policy a month ago by refusing puja of two wheelers if riders turn up without the safety gear, priests said.
As part of its strategy to reduce road fatalities involving two-wheeler riders, police had held talk with the temple managements across the district. They have consented to abide by police instruction, said Jagatsinghpur Superintendent of Police, Jai Narayan Pankaj.
Maa Sarala temple at Jhankad near Paradeip is a favoured destination for two wheeler riders to offer puja to stave off road mishap.
People buying new motorcycle also throng the temple daily for puja of the two wheeler. In a bid to cultivate helmet wearing right from the day of purchase, police and temple priests sat together and decided that there would be no puja for helmet-less bike owners, said the SP.
Paying due regard to police initiative, we have refused puja to people who visit the shrine in bike without helmets. The priests strictly follow it for safety of bike riders, said the head priest of Maa Sarala temple, Sudam Charan Panda.
"We are happy to know that temple priests have joined hands with in road safety drive. Management of other temples in the district have consented to take cue from 'No helmet - No puja' principle of Maa Sarala temple," said Pankaj.
The district police has launched a series of initiatives to curb road accident cases. The endeavour is now paying dividends. There has been 14 per cent drop in rate of road accidents in Jagatsinghpur in 2017 in comparison to the preceding year, he added.