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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Expressing satisfaction over several decisions taken during his two-day visit to Puri, the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium today informed that all the details of the accounts of Puri Srimandir will be made available on the website shortly.

"For me the most important are devotees and secondly transparency in accounting. There is a chartered accountant from Bhubaneswar on the committee, who told me that the protocols are being duly followed. All the accounts of Shri Jagannath will be uploaded on website shortly," Subramanium said.

Focussing on hassle-free darshan of devotees, the amicus curiae said that behaviour towards devotees should be good and added that all the required arrangements will be done at the Puri Srimandir as part of the reforms measures. Already, such issues have been discussed with Puri Gajapati Maharaj Dibya Singha Deb, servitors as well as temple administration.

Responding to a question on hereditary system of appointment of servitors at Srimandir, Subramanium said, “This is slightly a complex question. One can't give you a straight answer because here it is in the context of the Nitis. One has to understand the structure of services in the temple, but the word 'hereditary' is not a word of entitlement. My concept of hereditary, which is also written in the Record of Rights, is that if we use the word 'rights' in a very different meaning as record of services the whole attitude changes."

Talking about security of women devotees and installation of CCTVs, Subramanium said," It is inconceivable to think of a lady being inappropriately treated before the deities. There is agreement now that there has to be complete self-regulation in this matter.

“The CCTVs are also installed in the temple and I have asked the Superintendent of police to go through whatever is seen in the recordings so that we have some data to see how things have happened ever since their installation."

Apart from that, Subramanium informed that stress was given on financial and social status of servitors during his discussion with several stakeholders in the last two days in Puri.

Meanwhile, the suggestions made by the senior advocate has been widely welcomed by the servitors, devotees and the temple management.

Bijay Sahu, member of the Puri Jagannath temple management committee said the new proposals would definitely streamline the accounts of the shrine. "Talking of publication of information on the website, it would help devotees make an assessment about the earnings at Lord Jagannath temple and ensure maintenance of transparency," he said.

Similarly, on security of women devotees, Parijat Tripathy who is an ardent devotee of Lord Jagannath said "Safety and security of women is a big issue and if the temple management has been advised to take cognizance of it, then it is a good news.

Even though the servitor sections have welcomed the proposals of the amicus curiae in matters related to devotees, they have cited concerns that the reduction in number of servitors in the 12th century shrine could affect the services to the Lords.

"We have decided to hold meetings to create awareness so that collections of donations would be stopped," said Krushna Chandra Samantara, the secretary of Suar-Mahasuar Nijog.

"We are ready to fully coordinate with all arrangements for the benefit of devotees, but if threat looms over our daan-darkshina and reduction in number of servitors, then it would pose a problems in future," said senior Daitapati servitor Binayak Dasmohapatra.

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