Puri Srimandir: Servitors unhappy after SC bars them from accepting donations

Puri: On the one hand while the Srimandir administration is pulling up socks to implement the Supreme Court’s latest disciplinary reform barring servitors from accepting donations from devotees, the servitor associations at the 12th century shrine have shown displeasure over the move on the other.

The development comes in the wake of a directive of the Supreme Court asking servitors not to receive direct collection of offerings from devotees. The apex court on Friday had said, “Offerings can be collected in Hundis, will vest in the Temple fund and not be individual earning of Sevaks,”. The court has further ordered the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to install more CCTV cameras at appropriate locations on the temple premises to check the exploitation and attack on devotees.

The move meanwhile has sparked concern among the servitors.

Daitapati Nijog Assistant Secretary Binayak Das Mohapatra said, “The administration may implement any reform it wants to, but if they are mulling on diverting that donation money for other activities without thinking about the welfare of the servitors and their families then their decision would likely boomerang. With Rath Yatra and other festivals of the deities coming up, any unhappiness in the servitors’ fraternity might backfire.” Das said.

Similarly, Garabadu Nijog, Secretary Rajat Kumar Pratihary also showed apprehensions over the issue, “We are not so interested in the Supreme Court’s decision since it is a decision by the apex court which we all have to abide by, but what is worth noting here is that what do servitors get from this and what they have been getting until now.”

On the other hand, even as uneasiness continues to build among the servitors, the temple administration has apprised all the Nijogs to comply with the apex court’s order.

State Health Minister Pratap Jena has said that the directive of the Supreme Court will be duly implemented after careful consideration.