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Twelve-member panel to supervise inventory of Ratna Bhandar at Jagannath Temple

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | February 29, 2024 05:02 PM

Bhubaneswar: Following the direction of the Orissa High Court, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has constituted a high-level committee under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court judge Arijit Pasayat for the supervision of the inventory process for ornaments, jewellery and other valuables stored in the Ratna Bhandar (treasure room) of the famed Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri, official sources said on Thursday.

The high-level committee comprises 12 members, including cardiac surgeon Ramakanta Panda as the deputy chairman.

The other members include Bidhubhushan Samal, former CMD of Allahabad Bank; A.K. Sabat, chartered accountant; the representatives of King of Puri, Dibyasingha Deb; the chairman of Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee (SJTMC); and the Archaeological Survey of India.

The committee will also have temple servitors Durgaparsad Das Mahapatra, Madhab Chandra Mahapatra, Jagannath Kar, Ganesh Mekap and the district collector of Puri as its members.

The chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration will work as the convenor of the committee.

The state government had recently informed the high court about forming a high-level committee under a retired judge of the high court or the Supreme Court within four weeks. This came in response to a petition submitted by BJP leader Samir Mohanty seeking intervention of the high court in this matter in December 2023.

The court had earlier directed the state government to form the high-level committee in its previous order dated September last year.

The high court had also asked the state government to form the committee within 60 days from the date of the SJTMC’s request to form a panel for the inventory of Ratna Bhandar at the 12th century shrine.

Notably, the Ratna Bhandar has two chambers. The outer chamber is opened regularly whenever precious ornaments are required for rituals, while the inner chamber was opened once in 1985 only.

The inventory of ornaments and jewelleries in the Ratna Bhandar was prepared last in 1978.

The public outcry for opening of the Ratna Bhandar and inventory of valuables stored in the treasure room grew louder after the news about the missing key of the Ratna Bhandar surfaced in 2018. Demands have also been made to open the Ratna Bhandar for repair work after some cracks were spotted on its walls.


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