New inventory panel meets, decision to open Jagannath Temple treasury to be taken on July 9

Apart from matching the list of items as per the last count the jewellery will be measured and weighted by competent persons mostly goldsmiths and other experts who have adequate knowledge of ancient ornaments of deities.
Shree Jagannath temple
Shree Jagannath temple(File Photo)

BHUBANESWAR: The high-level committee reconstituted under the chairmanship of Justice Biswanath Rath will take a final decision on the opening of the Jagannath Temple treasury on July 9.

The committee was formed to supervise the inventory of valuables including jewellery stored in the Ratna Bhandar by the Shri Jagannath Temple managing committee.

Talking to mediapersons after the first meeting of the committee held in the temple conference hall at Puri, Justice Rath said standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be prepared based on the decisions taken at the meeting for the opening of the Ratna Bhandar.

The SOPs will be approved by the state government.

“The SOPs will recommend the measures to be taken for the opening of Ratna Bhandar and follow-up action for reinventorisation of the valuables, repair of the inner chamber of the Bhandar, safe upkeep of the jewellery during the repair works and related issues to the state government for consideration and necessary action,” Justice Rath said.

Going by the reports of the previous high-level committee headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat and the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) placed before the new committee, duplicate keys of the Ratna Bhandar are available with the district treasury, he said.

“We are told that the duplicate keys are in the district treasury. Chief Administrator of SJTA will produce the duplicate keys in the next meeting,” Justice Rath said.

“The reports suggest that the inner chamber of the Ratna Bhandar has not been opened for several decades. It was further reported that attempts were made to open the lock but in vain. If the lock did not open with the duplicate keys then, there is no option left but to break the lock,” he added.

Justice Rath said, an SOP for breaking open the lock and its approval by the government will be carried out by the chief administrator of the temple.

Similarly, plans on repair required by Ratna Bhandar will have to be chalked out by the managing committee.

Apart from matching the list of items as per the last count, Justice Rath said, the jewellery will be measured and weighted by competent persons mostly goldsmiths and other experts who have adequate knowledge of ancient ornaments of deities.

“It is for the managing committee to decide to constitute a panel of experts to verify the ornaments, their original character. An SOP in this regard will also be chalked out,” he added.

In case a decision was taken for repair of the Ratna Bhandar, then the question comes about the safe shifting, and upkeep of the ornaments and valuables during that time. The managing committee will give its suggestion for the safe storage of the ornaments after due deliberation on the issue, he said.

Justice Rath said all the members of the committee except international sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik were present. He said Pattnaik could not attend the meeting as he had gone abroad.

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