PURI: The Excise department’s plan to allot five foreign liquor (FL) shops near Swargadwar to bidders has come under severe criticism from residents of the town. Last week, the department through lottery allotted licences for setting up of 36 FL and 18 country liquor shops across the district.
Of them, five FL outlets will be set up near Swargadwar, cremation ghat located near the sea beach. Puri Vikash Parishad, in a letter to the Collector on Thursday said that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has great respect for the important religious place and had allocated `6 crore for its development.
“Swargadwar Tirth is spiritually and culturally revered by four crore Odias as a sacred and holy place. As per belief whoever is cremated at the site goes straight to heaven,” the letter said, adding setting up of liquor shops in its vicinity will damage its sanctity.
Swargadwar is one of the five tirthas of the holy town and is known as Mahodadhi Tirth. This apart the Swargadwar Tirth is functionally connected to Shree Jagannath Temple. As per the temple’s record of rights Swargadwar stands recorded as a temple and comes under 12th century shrine. Every month, on ‘no moon night’, ‘Amavasya Narayan’ comes out of Srimandir in a palanquin and visits Swargadwar beach to enjoy the sea breeze.
State convenor of Pujya Pooja Sansad, Krushna Chandra Jagdev along with activists had staged a Satyagraha at Gandhi Ghat demanding the administration to stop opening of FL shops near Swargadwar on Wednesday.