PK Mohapatra takes charge as Srimandir chief administrator

Puri: Amid ongoing controversies including Ratna Bhandar key fiasco and Supreme Court’s scanner on alleged harassment of devotees at Puri Srimandir, senior IAS officer Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra on Friday took charge as the chief administrator of the 12th century shrine.

The change of guard of SJTA comes at a time when the annual Rath Yatra is barely a month away.

Mohapatra visited Jagannath temple and paid obeisance to the three deities before taking over as the chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) here today.

Mohapatra’s new role comes following the sacking of Pradeep Jena as the chief administrator over the Ratna Bhandar missing key controversy on June 11.

Asked about controversy over Ratna Bhandar key, Mohapatra said that he has just assumed office and it would not be appropriate to comment anything on the issue as already government has ordered for a judicial probe.

“A commission has been set up to probe the Ratna Bhandar key fiasco. It is better that I should not comment anything on the matter now,” Mohapatra said.

Stating that his prime responsibility would be to ensure that the upcoming Rath Yatra is conducted smoothly, Mohapatra said he would soon discuss the issue with all stakeholders.

Safety of tourists and as well as devotees is our main focus area to ensure that they have hassle-free visits to the temple.

“Keeping in view the recent Supreme Court’s order, we have convened a meeting with all stakeholders including the servitors and will seek their suggestions so that an affidavit can be filed within the stipulated time frame,” Mohapatra said.