Odishatv Bureau

Puri: In a major revelation, Puri Collector Aravind Agarwal on Thursday said that the key of the inner chamber of Srimandir's treasure trove - Ratna Bhandar is not in the district treasury.

"We have verified that no key was deposited in district treasury by the temple administration. We had taken along with us five keys from the temple chest for inspection," said Agarwal.

Agarwal further informed that since the locks were sealed and the team examined the condition of the Ratna Bhandar, the keys were not used to open the inner chamber.

The collector also informed that the expert committee has suggested another inspection during the monsoon season.

Resentment is being observed among devotees across Odisha over the lackadaisical approach towards the inspection of Puri Srimandir's Ratna Bhandar, which quite to the surprise of many was completed in less than 45 minutes.

Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief Pradeep Jena had earlier informed that as the team was able to review the condition of the ceiling of the second inner chamber through a grill (opening) in the first chamber of the Ratna Bhandar, the second chamber was not opened yesterday.

The assessment of Ratna Bhandar's stability with the help of a mere searchlight through a small opening has now raised questions on the entire exercise that generated a lot of hype.

However, the statements of SJTA have failed to pacify servitors and devotees as it is now being alleged that as there was some confusion over the key, such a story is being cooked up.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions including whether the team had tried to open the doors with the keys or not. Clarification is needed over what happened during inspection," said secretary of Gadabadu Nijog, Rajat Pratihari.

Amid such allegations more questions are now surfacing - whether the representatives of Puri Gajapati Maharaj or temple administration officials had not taken the right keys or the actual key is lost after the last assessment of properties including ornaments in 1984?

"It is the Ratna Bhandar of Lord Jagannath and it is strange why the authorities have such a big opening which allowed the team to see through and carry out an assessment," said historian Surendra Mishra.

"It will be really unfortunate if the key is lost. It would have been proper if the Puri King himself was present during inspection," said President of Khuntia Nijog, Krushna Chandra Khuntia.

Some servitors are of the opinion that had Puri King Gajapati Maharaj himself accompanied the inspection team, he could have given orders to break the locks or could have suggested some other alternatives to open the inner chamber of Ratna Bhandar.