Pradeep Pattanayak

The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has submitted its report to the Law Department, informing it about the steps taken for Srimandir reforms. The SJTA has done this in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court. 

The SJTA in its report stated that a permanent chief administrator has been appointed and for the propagation of Jagannath Culture, a school and a Gurukul have been set up for the children of the servitors. 

A plan is underway to construct a building to accommodate 60,000 pilgrims at a given time. On the other hand, the audit of the incomes and expenditures of the temple aren’t being conducted, the list of the properties of the deities in and outside the state has not been prepared. So far, no rate chart of ‘Abadha’ has been put up in Ananda Bazar. Similarly, no steps has been taken to test the quality of the ‘Mahaprasad’, the report stated. 

According to the report, the servitors have not been provided with identity cards for easy their identification. Similarly, no action is being taken against the unruly servitors who are responsible for ritual delay. The servitors’ service that passed onto them from generations has not been abolished nor has the collection of donation money been stopped. 

Similarly, suggestions regarding deities’ rituals are not being taken from Jagatguru Shankaracharya. There is no system in place to ensure devotees’ free and fair darshan of the deities. No estimation of the deities’ moveable and immovable assets has been done. The last inventory of ornaments kept in the Ratna Bhandar was made in 1978 and no inventory has since been done. 

“The Supreme Court in its direction had asked the government to consult Shankaracharaya before taking any decision. The government here doesn’t want Shankaracharya, nor samitis, nor servitors. So why should I interfere,” said Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati. 

Notably, hearing the petition filed by advocate Mrinalini Padhi, the Supreme Court had directed the SJTA to submit the report in 2019. On the basis of the direction, the Law Department had asked the SJTA to submit its report. 

In this regard, no reactions from the SJTA or servitors could be obtained.

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