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Odishatv Bureau

Puri: After hue and cry over pest-infested rice, now use of charcoal, allegedly procured from outside, in preparation of ‘Mahaprasad’ in Puri Jagannath temple has drawn sharp criticism from devotees across the State.

Three to four women were caught on cam collecting and stashing charcoal in bags at a dilapidated mutt located on the southern-side of the temple. The women claimed that on the directions of Suara servitors (Sevayats), they have been supplying around 30 to 40 sacks of charcoal to the temple kitchen on a daily basis.

“We are burning wood to prepare the charcoal and sending to temple on instructions of the servitors,” said Sukanti, one of the labourers.

If the statements of these women are to be believed, then the ‘Mahaprasad’ and other dry prasad of Lord Jagannath are being prepared from the charcoal procured from outside the temple.

Sources said that the issue was raised during the temple’s managing committee meeting held on January 20, but the Suara servitors had then categorically ruled out any such incident. The sevayats categorically stated that that Angarua sevaks are collecting and using the charcoal produced from the kitchen of the temple.

“The requirement of charcoal is met from temple kitchen itself. We are not procuring it from outside,” said Gopinath Mohapatra, Suara servitor.

On the other hand, Nayaran Mohapatra, former additional secretary of Suara Nijog alleged that palmolein, instead of pure ghee, is being used to prepare Abadha. Besides, pest-infested rice and substandard vegetables are also making their way into the Jagannath temple kitchen, he alleged.

“The temple administration is aware of such issues, but no steps have been taken so far,” said Mohapatra.
Earlier in September 2017, OTV camera had exposed how pest-infested rice was entering Puri Jagannath temple. The incident then had sparked resentment among the devotees and raised question on the quality of items used in the preparation of Mahaprasad.

Krushna Chandra Pratihari, Secretary Suara Nijog said, “Whatever food items are being used are of superior quality and all the allegations are baseless. Action will certainly be taken if anyone is found procuring substandard materials.”

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