Himansu Shekhar Rout

AC tunnel barricade has been put in place in Puri to ensure easy and conformable darshan of deities by devotees. However, the facility has reportedly become a costly affair for the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration(SJTA). 

As per reports, in the last two months, the electricity bills of the 84-metre long and 12-metre wide AC tunnel barricade were pegged at a whopping Rs 14.17 lakh. To reduce such a huge cost of power consumption, some devotees and servitors have suggested the use of solar energy. 

The temple administration is reportedly concerned over the financial burden and is fretting about how to pay off the bill. 

Given such a situation, the administration is thinking of an alternative option for power supply while servitors have demanded free electricity for the sake of devotees.

Simply calculated, if the electricity bills for two months – January and February -- can be Rs 14.17 lakh, for one year, the total bill could cross Rs 1 crore. 

Given the high electricity consumption, senior servitor Binayak Dasmohapatra said, ”All this – huge electricity bills - is due to lack of foresight. Before doing this tunnel, one should have assessed the electricity consumption. How these bills will be paid off? Now, the only option to reduce the electricity consumption is to switch over to solar systems. The other way is that the state government should bear the electricity bills.”  

Madhab Mohapatra, a member of the Srimandir Management Committee, said, “Electricity consumption of not only AC tunnel but of other facilities under the temple administration should be taken into account together. As far as my assessment, the daily electricity consumption of all the facilities related to the temple can be Rs 2 lakh. This is not a small amount. We have to ponder over how to reduce the electricity consumption. Green energy can be utilized for the purpose.”

Ramachandra Nath, a devotee, said, ”Solar system should have been a better option. Using electricity will be a burden on the temple revenue or the government revenue.” 

SJTA Administrator (Development) Pradip Kumar Sahu said, ”We are assessing the electricity bills with the help of assistant and junior engineers of our electrical section. Consumption of ACs will be verified.”

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