Pradeep Pattanayak

The Ratna Bhandar (treasury) of Lord Jagannath temple in Puri is safe and none should worry about it, said Chief Administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), Ranjan Das on Saturday. 

The Orissa High Court had ordered the SJTA to form a special committee on the reopening of Ratna Bhandar and the inventory of ornaments within two months. When asked about the status of this special committee, SJTA chief Das said the matter would be discussed in the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee meeting and the High Court would be informed. 

“The matter would be discussed and a decision would be taken in the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee meeting. The Ratna Bhandar is safe and you shouldn’t worry about it,” said Das. 

In this regard, managing committee member Madhab Mohapatra said, “In the next Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee meeting, we will discuss and decide about the formation of the special committee and then inform the Odisha government.”

On the other hand, the state government dragging its feet on reopening of the Ratna Bhandar is not going down well with the devotees. 

“If the Ratna Bhandar is safe, then why the SJTA and the state government are reluctant to follow the direction of the Supreme Court. On August 4, it was decided in the managing committee meeting that the inventory of the ornaments would be done when the inner Ratna Bhandar would be opened. Doesn’t the time for opening the inner Ratna Bhandar have come? The officials are giving such concocted statement as they are trying to save the government by deferring the matter till general elections,” said Dilip Baral, RTI activist.

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