Mrunal Manmay Dash

The much-debated Ratna Bhandar of Srimandir which houses the treasury of Lord Jagannath is in a real bad shape and the Odisha government should take immediate steps to perform an inventory and restore it to its former glory, said Puri King Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb on Tuesday.

The King said this in an exclusive interview with OTV News Editor Radhamadhab Mishra.

Asked about the Ratna Bhandar, the King said, “The Temple is under the State government. They will have to take the decision. The exact inventory of the Ratna Bhandar should be made by the State government as soon as possible.”

“I can’t say if the government is trying to hide something by not performing the inventory, but they can’t delay it for infinity. They will have to do it one day. So, why not today,” said the King.

On the disputed Srimandir Parikrama Project, the King was of the opinion that the Project’s purpose is to provide safety to the Temple and the devotees. So the work should not stop and it should be completed as soon as possible.

“There were multistory buildings adjacent to the Meghnad Boundary earlier and many slums were also there. If that did not endanger the Srimandir’s structure, then why would constructions about 40 metres away pose threat to the temple now,” he asked.

The King further criticised the ASI accusing it of neglecting the Srimandir. Speaking about the Central agency, the King said, “We do not see the eagerness from the ASI to work in the temple. Yes, they undertake restoration and conservation works but we do not get their cooperation all the time,” he said.

The King then moved on to the position of Chief Administrator of the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA). According to him, “The SJTA needs a full-time administrator because Srimandir is the centre of all Hindu’s religious beliefs across the world.”

“The responsibility is huge at the Srimandir. Only a full-time administrator can perform his duties in a proper manner,” he added.