Durua tribals have urged the administration to make Gupteswar temple in Odisha’s Koraput district a polythene free zone as unrestrained use of plastic bags litter the surroundings of the cave shrine. Thousands of people visit the famous cave shrine round the year. The administration should ban use of polythene bags near the cave temple. People visiting the shrine should be asked to carry puja materials in leaf bowls made by tribal people, said Gonchu Durua, President of the Durua community.
“We will also ask shop-keepers and visitors to keep leaf bowls of different sizes. It will not only keep the environment clean, but also be help tribal folk earn their livelihood”, said Sitaram Durua of Malipadar village. The Durua tribals living in villages in and around Ramagiri forests adjacent to Gupteswar eke out a living by selling minor forest produces, flowers and puja materials near the cave temple.
“The surroundings of the cave temple become especially unclean in the month of Sravan when thousands of Kanwarias throng here every Monday and litter the shrine with plastic mugs, in which they carry river water to pour on Shiva linga, and plastic bags used to carry puja materials”, said Bidyut Mohanty, a Koraput based social worker.
According to Mohanty, the river Saberi, on the banks of which the temple is situated, is littered with polythene bags and plastic mugs thrown by the devotees causing health hazards to devotees who take a holy dip in it. “The temple authorities give no importance to cleanliness. There is no proper garbage disposal system at Gupteswar”, he said. Koraput district Collector said, “The matter will be looked into and necessary action will be taken to make Gupteswar more beautiful”.
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