Pradeep Pattanayak

Puri king, Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, on Monday, expressed his concern regarding chariot construction. In an exclusive interview with OTV, the king said in the event of the failure of ‘Jagannath Bana Prakalpa’, launched by the State government, the scarcity of wood may emerge as the stumbling block in the chariot construction. 

“Getting the specific number of specific types of timbers for chariot construction has recently emerged as a big problem. Its solution is ‘Jagannath Bana Prakalpa’. The government had launched the project with an intention to avoid shortage of timbers for chariot construction for good,” said the king. 

“The responsibility of making the project successful rests with the Forest department. There has all along been our cooperation for the project. But for the last couple of years, we have been in dark as to the status of the project. The forest department should take initiative in this regard, failing which the timber crisis would definitely affect the chariot construction,” he added. 

The Gajapati Maharaja’s concern came in the backdrop of cracks being spotted on the wheels of Taladhwaja and Darpadalana, the two chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra respectively. 

While a crack was spotted on the wheel of Lord Jagannath’s chariot ahead of Rath Yatra, a technical team of chariot construction on Monday found out cracks on the wheels of chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. During the ‘Dakshina Moda’ ritual, when the chariots are turned southwards and moved near Nakachana dwara, the cracks were detected. 

“The problems are of minor in nature. We will fix the issues before ‘Dakshina Moda’ tomorrow,” said senior chariot conservator Dr N C Pal.  

Explaining the reasons for such cracks, Kamar servitor of Nandighosha Rath,   Dasarathi Maharana said the wheels to develop cracks after Rath Yatra is normal as such huge wooden chariots are pulled along the Grand Road. “We will get the problems fixed tomorrow,” said Maharana.