Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

In an unprecedented turn of events, Odisha Law Minister Prithiviraj Harichandan on Wednesday refuted claims made by the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) regarding the opening of the Ratna Bhandar (treasure trove) of Puri Srimandir on July 8. 

“No decision regarding the opening of Ratna Bhandar on July 8 has been taken yet. A govt official commented on the matter and created confusion to cover up his own mistake. Proper action will be taken against the concerned govt official. A decision on opening of the Ratna Bhandar will be taken after examining the matter,” said Harichandan.

The whole confusion arose after ASI Superintendent DB Garnayak informed earlier in the day that Puri Ratna Bhandar will be opened during Rath Yatra.

Garnayak had informed that a decision in this regard has been taken at the temple managing committee meeting. He had also said that inspection will be done on July 8 and the Ratna Bhandar will be opened in the presence of the core committee and technical committee.

“As per the 2018 report, an inspection was done and cracks were observed, some stones had fallen and some iron rods were missing. The condition was not good. In the laser scanning, cracks were detected in the outer wall and joints. Through these cracks, rainwater might be entering,” Garnayak had said.

Later Garnayak again clarified that "the Odisha government will take a decision on when to open the Ratna Bhandar and ASI is prepared for the conservation work."

Commission report to be made public

Meanwhile, the Odisha government informed the Orissa High Court that the report of Justice Raghubir Das Commission on the missing Ratna Bhandar key would be made public.

The Commission’s report would be tabled in the next Cabinet meeting, the Odisha government informed the Orissa High Court on Wednesday.

The next hearing on the matter would be held after three months.

The Commission was constituted to probe the circumstances leading to the mysterious disappearance of the keys of the inner Ratna Bhandar of Puri Jagannath temple.

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