Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has directed the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to inspect the ornaments of Bhitara Ratna Bhandar (inner sanctum of Lord Jagannath’s treasure trove) in Puri.
The Law Department in a letter dated August 18 has said that appropriate action as deemed proper may please be taken in the matter. The department’s communique comes on two grievance applications filed over the issue by one Dillip Kumar Baral and Durga Prasad Mohapatra.
The temple administration has been asked to take steps regarding the inspection of the Rathna Bhandar under intimation to the law department as well as the petitioners.
In addition, the government has asked the shrine administration to take steps to fill up the vacancies in Mukti Mandap of the Jagannath Temple.
Notably, the state government had revealed that the inner and outer Ratna Bhandar of Puri Srimandir had 12838 bhari (10 gms approx) of gold ornaments, 22153 bhari of silver and 12 unweighed gold & silver items based on the assessment done in 1978.
However, the government had earlier faced severe criticisms from all quarters due to its alleged hesitation to audit Ratna Bhandar.
After nearly 34 years, on April 4, 2018, a 16-member team entered the ‘Ratna Bhandar’ for scrutiny of its physical conditions following an order of the Orissa High Court.
However, the team members did not enter the inner chambers and saw its condition from outside with the help of search lights as the keys were not available. Later, at a meeting of the Sri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, it was recorded that the keys of the inner chambers of the Ratna Bhandar had gone missing.
On June 4, 2018, the state government had set up a Judicial Commission to probe the missing keys of Ratna Bhandar.