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Panel to recommend Odisha govt to reopen Puri Jagannath temple's 'Ratna Bhandar' on July 14

BHUBANESWAR: The high-level committee, set up to supervise the making of an inventory of valuable items stored in 'Ratna Bhandar' of Puri Jagannath temple, has decided to recommend the Odisha government to reopen the inner chamber of the treasury on July 14, a panel member said on Tuesday.

The decision was taken during a meeting of committee members in Puri.

"We have unanimously decided that the committee would request the government to reopen the inner chamber of the 'Ratna Bhandar' on July 14," said Justice Biswanath Rath, who is the chairman of the panel.

The treasury was last opened 46 years ago in 1978.

The chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), who is the member convenor of the panel, was asked to produce the duplicate key of the 'Ratna Bhandar' before the committee during this meeting, Rath said.

"However, the SJTA administration could not produce the duplicate key as the temple authority was busy conducting Rath Yatra. The chief administrator is now asked to submit the key before the panel on July 14," Rath said.

It was also decided that the treasury would be opened by breaking the lock if the duplicate key would not function, he said.

A detailed discussion was held on several standard operating procedures (SOPs) needed for making an inventory of ornaments and repairing the 'Ratna Bhandar'.

"As per the rules, the minutes of the meeting will be sent to the temple managing committee, which will send it to the government for approval. After that, the 'Ratna Bhandar' can be opened," Rath said.

The reopening of the temple treasury was a major political issue in the state during the recently concluded elections. The BJP had promised to reopen the 'Ratna Bhandar' for necessary repair work and make an inventory after it came to power in Odisha.


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