PURI: The managing body of Sri Jagannath Temple on Wednesday decided that funds to the tune of Rs 625 crore, belonging to the holy shrine, will be transferred to nationalised banks. Currently, the funds are deposited with a private bank which had led to a raging controversy. At the temple managing body meeting here on Wednesday, it was decided that the funds would be parked in three nationalised banks. The banks which will be chosen basing on the highest interest bid on deposit of Hundi foundation fund, corpus fund and term deposits.
Besides, the managing body also resolved to form a special committee, headed by the Revenue Secretary, which would initiate steps to recover over 60,000-acre temple land from the clutches of encroachers across Odisha and other states. Similarly, mines owned by the temple in Khurda district would be auctioned for which an MoU will be signed with Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) soon. In another major move, the body also decided that health insurance cover of servitors will be raised substantially from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. It also resolved to implement Supreme Court direction on 23-action points to make darshan for devotees hassle-free, safety of devotees, timely observance of nitees and rituals and rationalisation of rates of mahaprasad.
All these would be carried out in a phased manner. In a move aimed at ensuring the safety of devotees visiting the 12th century shrine, steps would be taken to protect them from exploitation by unscrupulous elements in the temple. Similarly, to maintain quality of ‘mahaprasad,’ the temple administration would take up the matter with ‘suar’ and ‘mahasuara nijogas.’
The temple kitchen and Anand Bazaar (the mahaprasad market within the temple complex) would also be repaired. The committee also expressed concern over untimely observance of Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath by ISKCON and decided to approach the State Government to explore legal steps to stop this. Puri Gajapati Dibyasingh Deb, chairperson of the temple body, would officially write a letter asking ISKCON to end this practice in future. While Gajapati Dibyasingh Deb presided over the meeting, temple Chief Administrator Dr Krishan Kumar conducted the proceedings of the meeting.