Mrunal Manmay Dash

The rice collected by the Arpan Raths across Odisha is mixed with par-boiled rice and it is unsuitable to be cooked in Srimandir, alleged former president of Suar Mahasuar Nijog, Damodar Mahasuar.

Damodar Mahasuar, who is in the Srimandir committee to examine the quality of the rice, alleged that the rice packets opened yesterday were suitable for cooking but the rice packets brought to Srimandir today are unsuitable to prepare bhog because it is mixed with par-boiled rice.

He demanded to sell all the rice packets brought by Arpan Raths and purchase good quality rice with that money instead.

Speaking to reporters, Damodar said, “Rice packets were brought to Srimandir this morning. When I saw the packets, it did not look like arua rice from a distance. My apprehensions were proven right when I opened the packets. I saw a lot of par-boiled rice mixed with the arua rice in the packets.”

“The government should distribute this among the public under some of its schemes, or sell it to the rice vendors. I have kept the rice as proof of my allegations. If the SJTA asks me, I will show them the proof,” Damodar said.

“Ushuna (Par-boiled rice) will never be allowed inside the Srimandir,” he added while threatening to go on a hunger strike if his demands are unheard.

Earlier it was decided that the rice collected by the Odisha government’s Arpan Rath will be used to prepare khichdi. However, it will be used only after verifying its quality by a Srimandir committee.

The rice verifying committee which has the president and secretaries of Suar and Mahasuar Nijog, was formed following a meeting at Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) office on Friday night.

Senior servitor Binayak Dasmahapatra said, “There is a probability that the rice has been mixed with par-boiled rice and it will take a lot of time to verify all 12000 quintal rice of its quality. So as per my opinion, the donated rice should be sold in the market and the money should be used to make kotha bhog for the Mahaprabhu.”

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