Reopening of Ratna Bhandar issue continues to be on back burner

by Dikhyaa Mohanty

There have been rumours that the demand to reopen Srimandir Ratna Bhandar has been purposefully placed on the back burner since the State government and the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) have been keeping stoic quiet. Many people are disturbed by the occurrence today, in which Sudarsan Patnaik, a renowned sand artist and member of the Shri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee and winner of the Padma Shri award, had his suggestion to examine the matter at the meeting rejected.

Patnaik asked about Ratna Bhandar’s current situation, the repairs being made, and when it will reopen at the meeting. His suggestion was, however, officially rejected because it wasn’t on the agenda. Patnaik expressed uncertainty about the way the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducted its business, but was not given any consideration.

Both the government and the SJTA have shown little interest in the Ratna Bhandar’s reopening, despite demands from worshippers, servants, and members of the temple management committee. Even Puri Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, a permanent member of the Shri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee who has previously voiced worry over Ratna Bhandar’s situation, is not using his veto authority to prevent the item from being added to the agenda. Instead, he is remaining silent. It is now being claimed that the subject has been purposefully ignored.

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