BHUBANESWAR: Days after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced to bring a special Act for Lingaraj temple, the State Cabinet on Monday passed an Ordinance, vesting management of the 11th century shrine in a 15-member committee.
The special Act, in line with the Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1955, envisages better administration and governance of the temple. The legislation vests all the properties situated within the premises of the Lingaraj temple along with other temples, sacred places and mutts in the Ekamra Kshetra in the committee. An administrator will be appointed to look after the day-to-day affairs of the management of the temple.
Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari said, since the Assembly is not in session, the new law is proposed to be enacted through an Ordinance. The special Act for the Lingaraj temple was a long standing demand of the local people and servitors.
The new law will ensure better facilities for the pilgrims, devotees and visitors. Besides, the committee will be empowered to safeguard the properties of the temple, Pujari said. Detailed provisions have been made in the Ordinance covering all relevant aspects, such as constitution of the managing committee, appointment of the administrator, their responsibilities and powers and management of temple funds. The legislation also has provisions to streamline the budgeting, accounting and auditing of the temple funds.
Presently, the management of Lingaraj Temple is governed under the Odisha Hindu Religious Endowment Act, 1952. With the enactment of the new law, the temple administration will be further empowered and strengthened to more effectively execute the elaborate rituals and seva puja. Various development works of the temple and its periphery covering safety, security and beautification aspects will also be expedited.
During his visit to the temple on December 2, the Chief Minister had promised the sevayats (servitors) and others that the Lingaraj Temple Act will be enacted soon. He had reviewed the Ekamra Kshetra heritage project which envisages all-round development and beautification of the periphery of the temple. He had also offered prayers to Lord Lingaraj from Singhadwar and held discussions with sevayats.
The sevayats hailed the promulgation of the Ordinance and thanked Chief Minister for keeping his promise. They lit 10,000 diyas in front of the temple to celebrate the government decision.