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High-level committee to meet on July 9 to fix date for reopening of Jagannath temple 'Ratna Bhandar'

BHUBANESWAR: The high-level committee set up by the Odisha government to supervise the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee in carrying out inventorisation of valuables including jewellery in the 'Ratna Bhandar' will meet on July 9 to fix the date for reopening of the temple's treasury.

Justice Biswanath Rath, who is the chairman of the high-level committee said this after the committee held its first meeting in Puri on Saturday.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Justice Rath said, "After examining the available documents and record, it was found that a duplicate key of the Ratna Bhandar is there in the Puri government treasury. So, we have decided to hold another meeting of the panel on July 9 to fix the date for the reopening of the Ratna Bhandar."

The chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), who is the member convenor of the panel, has been asked to produce the duplicate key of the Ratna Bhandar before the committee in the next meeting, he said.

As the inner chamber of the treasury has not been opened for several decades, the lock of the door might not be working. So, keeping it in mind, a SOP will be prepared with the approval of the government to break the lock in such a situation, Rath said.

The committee has observed that the repair work cannot be taken up without shifting the jewellery and other valuable materials stored in the treasury. It was decided in the meeting to ask the temple managing committee to take a decision on proper storage of the jewellery and ornaments during the repair work, he said.

Rath said the SOP will also mention the inventorisation of valuables including jewellery immediately after its shifting to a safe place.

During the last time, experts from Hyderabad and Chennai were brought for the inventory of the ornaments. So, this time also, the managing committee will decide who will be engaged for proper inventorisation of the ornaments of the Jagannath temple, he said.

"We hope that the repair work will be started and shifting of the ornaments will be completed during the annual Rath Yatra, before the return of Lord Jagannath and his siblings to the temple," he asserted.

The reopening of the Ratna Bhandar was a major political issue in the state during the recently concluded elections. The BJP had promised to reopen the treasury for necessary repair work and inventory after it came to power in Odisha. The Ratna Bhandar was last opened 46 years ago in 1978.


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