Bhubaneswar: Senior Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja on Friday demanded the state government to reopen Ratna Bhandar of Jagannath temple at Puri in Odisha.
Speaking at Zero Hour in the Odisha assembly, Saluja said the devotees of Lord Jagannath wanted to know whether the jewellery and other valuables of the deity is in safe custody or not.
He urged the Speaker to ask the state government to open the Ratna Bhandar and make necessary renovation of the treasury. Saluja also demanded for inventory of valuables inside the Ratna Bhandar and make it public.
Further, the Congress legislator requested Speaker B.K. Arukha to direct the state government to table the report of the Justice Raghubir Dash Commission, which was constituted to probe the incident relating to the missing of the keys of Ratna Bhandar of the temple.
“The BJD government has set up 24 Commissions of inquiry on various issues at the cost of crores of rupees during the last 21 years of its rule. However, it is a matter of regret that eight Commissions have not submitted their reports yet. The government, on the other hand, kept on extending their tenure,” he said.
Speaking to media persons outside the house, Saluja said even Puri king Dibyasingha Deb has expressed concern over the physical condition of Ratna Bhandar. The king has also demanded to make public the valuables kept inside the treasury, he added
Earlier, the former law minister Pratap Jena had informed the house that the Ratna Bhandar was opened in 1978. At that time, it had more than 12,831 ‘bhari’ of gold and 22,153 ‘bhari’ silver (one bhari equals 11.66 grams).
The storehouse had 12,831 grams of gold ornaments with expensive stones and other valuables of the metal. Similarly, 22,153 grams of silver with expensive stones, silver utensils and other valuables were found.
However, 14 gold and silver items could not be weighed during the inventory making process for different reasons. During the process, the value of the items was not assessed, the minister had.