Srimandir remains priority of State govt only till Rath Yatra: Gajapati

Puri: Puri King Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb today said that the kind of importance given to the Lord Jagannath Temple by Odisha government during the Rath Yatra is not seen at other times in all matters of management.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with OTV, the Puri King said that while the  government gives a lot of importance to the smooth conduct of the annual Rath Yatra, the same urgency is missing during other times and while dealing with issues surrounding the temple. It  simply slides down from the government’s list of priority, he said.

“Ever since the State Government took control of the management in 1960, it has never been able to sort out the issues in Puri Srimandir unlike most state governments that have initiated visible reforms in their respective shrines,” Gajapati said.

“It is saddening that the Judiciary had to intervene in these matters after the Executive and the Legislative failed to resolve issues pertaining to the temple, he said while speaking on the Supreme Court’s recent suggestions on the temple reforms.

On the apex court’s views on allowing non-Hindus  into the temple, the Puri King opined that the decision solely lies on the intellectual panel, Mukti Mandap Sabha and its head Shankaracharya.

The Gajapati questioned that considering the present scenario of global terrorism, if non-Hindus are allowed into the shrine will the government be able to ensure security of the temple and the devotees.

On the issue of abolition of hereditary services hereditary appointment of sevaks, the King questioned if  doing away with the traditional practices followed since ages will be the right decision.

The Gajapati also expressed his shock over the non-extension of BP Das Commission for temple reforms. After two interim reports on various aspects of the temple, the Commission was yet to submit its suggestions on the most important issue, streamlining of temple rituals, servitors’ dues and rights and steps for smooth darshan by devotees but its tenure was not extended as a result about 13,000 affidavits on suggestions from the general public were unutilised and the panel could not fulfil its very objectives,” the Gajapati said.

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