Himansu Shekhar Rout

The issue of unboiled and parboiled rice collected by Arpan Raths during the Puri Parikrama project inauguration was once again raised in the Odisha Assembly on Thursday.

Raising the issue, the Chief whip of the Opposition party and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA, Mohan Majhi criticised the government alleging that it got the project praised through the address of the Governor.

During the Zero Hour, the BJP member pointed out that Damodar Mahasuar, a member of the inquiry committee constituted by the government to check the rice has claimed that parboiled rice was found in the sacks.

“How could a mixed variety of rice be allowed to enter Srimandir? People have also donated betel nuts and money along with rice. Besides, there is no account of the money collected by Arpan Raths,” Majhi asked.

The BJP legislator further observed that idols of Lord Jagannath were made from thermocol and tied in vehicles while Arpan Raths were being moved in villages.

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“All such things are against the Jagannath culture. Gajapti Maharaj has already made it clear that deploying the Arpan Raths in villages to collect rice and for publicity of the Parikrama project was not the decision of the Srimandir Management Committee,” Majhi said.

He accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of keeping mum on the issue and sought a ruling from Speaker Pramila Mallik.

However, no reaction was received from the ruling Biju Janata Dal(BJD).

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