Reopen Jagannath temple Ratna Bhandar this month: BJP to Odisha govt

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today sought the immediate reopening of Jagannath temple Ratna Bhandar (treasury) in Puri city.

Former president of BJP unit in Odisha, Samir Mohanty, today sought the reopening of Ratna Bhandar this month for structural inspection as well as the inventory of ornaments and valuables stored at the temple treasury.

A few days ago, the authorities of the 12th century shrine had decided to send a recommendation to the state government for an inspection of the temple treasury during the next Ratha Jatra.

The ASI had earlier requested the temple administration to allow it to carry out structural inspection at Ratna Bhandar during the next Ratha Jatra.

“The authorities have not carried out any inventory of Jagannath temple Ratna Bhandar for the last 45 years. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has approached the state government several times since 2018 seeking permission to inspect structural status of the temple treasury. The state government has adopted a dillydallying approach on the issue. The temple authorities have recently declared that that they will seek the state government’s permission to reopen Ratna Bhandar during the next year’s Rath Yatra,” said Mohanty.

The BJP leader urged the state government to reopen the temple treasury this month and facilitate an inventory of its valuables.

“The dillydallying approach of the state government regarding Ratna Bhandar has caused an environment of distrust in Odisha. Now, people have a perception that the valuables of the temple treasury might have been stolen. So, the state government should reopen the treasury this month to win back the people’s trust,” said Mohanty, who had filed a petition in Orissa High Court on the issue in June this year.

Notably, the ASI, in its recent affidavit before the Orissa HC, has claimed that the temple treasury requires immediate conservation.

“Jagannath temple Ratna Bhandar requires urgent conservation. We have mentioned this in our affidavit. Our officials had found certain indications like hollow sounds, stone fragmentation and water seepage marks on the walls of Ratna Bhandar during an inspection in 2018,” said ASI Puri Zone Superintending Archaeologist D Gadanayak while filing the affidavit.

The ruling BJD, however, said the matter is sub-judice. So, there is no scope for discussion on Ratna Bhandar. “Let, the court take decision on the issue,” said BJD MLA Amar Prasad Satpathy.

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