After several people across Odisha expressed their resentment to find that the ‘arua’ rice and betel nuts collected by the district administration through Arpan Rath are lying unused at several places, a senior servitor of Srimandir has come up with a clarification.
As per the Secretary of Suara Mahasuara Nijoga Narayan Mahasuara, the rice and betel nuts collected through Arpan Rath will be used in the service of Lord Jagannath at Puri Srimandir.
“The rice and betel nuts collected from Arpan Rath will be kept at Nijoga Gruha in Koili Baikuntha. Mahaprasad, Khechudi and pitha (cake) will be made from the rice. If the collected rice is suitable then Mahaprasad will be made from it. If it is of mixed kind then Khechudi and cakes will be prepared from it. Apart from that, muruja and jhothi chita will also be made from the rice,” said Narayan Mahasuara.
“Moreover, the collected rice will be used in ‘Alati’ at Srimandir on a daily basis. The betel nuts will be used in preparing ‘Bidia pana’ for the Holy Trinity. We will take necessary steps to care about the emotions of devotees towards the Lord,” he added.
Notably, the Odisha government had reportedly spent crores of rupees in rolling out Arpan Raths in villages to collect betel and rice from devotees, as well as for the publicity of the Srimandir Parikrama project.
However, it was alleged that the collected rice and betel are lying unused at either panchayat offices or village temples. Devotees and people were told that the collected rice and betel would be sent to Srimandir.