‘No plans to open Puri Jagannath temple’s Ratna Bhandar’

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government has no plans to open the Ratna Bhandar of Shree Jagannath temple in Puri and make an inventory of the Ratnas (precious stones) stored there, said Law Minister Pratap Jena in the State Assembly today.

Besides, the Minister assured the House that precious jewellery and ornaments of the deities of the shrine are safe and secured.

Replying to a query asked by senior Congress MLA Suresh Routray, the Law Minister said inside chamber of the Ratna Bhandar was opened in 1985 and a total of 454 gold and 236 silver jewellery along with other valuables were found in it.

However, eight gold idols, six silver utensils and idols could not be weighed due to some reasons, said the Minister.

Routray wanted to know when the government had last opened the Ratna Bhandar and how many Ratnas were found in it. He also asked why the State government is not opening the temple treasury again and raised concern over the safety of the Ratnas.

“In presence of a sitting judge of Orissa High Court, Chief Secretary, DGP and servitors the temple treasury must be opened. People have rights to know the details of the valuables there. Otherwise apprehension is being made that temple staff might have looted the valuables,” said Routray.

The legislator further said Congress members will raise the issue in the House tomorrow as well.

In his reaction, BJP legislator Bishnu Sethi said the State government is afraid that people will know the reality about the temple treasury. “After brahma fiasco and missing of the Ratna Bhandar key, opening of the Ratna Bhadnar might put the State government into trouble,” said Sethi adding that the Supreme Court’s directive should be implemented.

Following the Opposition ruckus over the issue, Speaker SN Patro adjourned the proceedings of the House till tomorrow.

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