Pradeep Pattanayak

The Orissa High Court on Monday directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit a detail report on the steps that have been taken since 2017 to repair the Jagamohan and the Ratna Bhandar of Puri Srimandir. 

While hearing two different petitions simultaneously- one on the Jagamohan and the other one on the Ratna Bhandar, acting Chief Justice BR Sarangi observed that no progress has been achieved in the repair of the Jagamohan and Ratna Bhandar. Hence, the state’s apex court wished to know what steps have so far been taken since 2017 to repair the Jagamohan and Ratna Bhandar. 

The court has directed the ASI to submit its report on the next hearing date, i.e. November 8. 

Notably, at a time when the state units of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have been cornering the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-led government over the opening of Ratna Bhandar issue, the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee (SJTMC) on November 4 gave its approval to laser scanning of the Srimandir Ranta Bhandar (treasure trove) for repair of cracks. 

The ASI will carry out the laser scanning of the Ratna Bhandar on November 28, the day after Kartika Purnima.

A day after the announcement, the BJP launched an attack on the government, terming the announcement as a planned conspiracy to go for the laser scanning of the Ratna Bhandar instead of opening it. 

The party demanded opening of the Ratna Bhandar before the inauguration of the Srimandir Parikrama Project. 

It is worth mentioning that, the state’s apex court while hearing the PIL filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state President, Samir Mohanty, had on September 29 directed the government to constitute a high-level committee, if it is recommended by the Shri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee (SJTMC), for supervising the process of inventorisation of the valuables kept in the Ratna Bhandar, the treasure trove of the temple.

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