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Congress Conducts Rally in Puri, Calls for Opening of Ratna Bhandar

The opposition Congress party Monday organised a rally in Puri city of Odisha and demanded the opening of Ratna Bhandar and all the four doors of the Shri Jagannath temple.

Hundreds of workers and top leaders of the Congress participated in the rally from Gundicha temple to the office of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

“The state government which has been ruling the state for the last 24 years is not opening the four doors of the temple of lord Jagannath. They are not opening the Ratna Bhandar (treasury of Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri) for repairing and inventorisation of the valuables inside it, said Sarat Pattanayak, the president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC).

He said that the Congress workers of the Puri district, and other colleagues who come from other parts of the state, will submit a memorandum to the Governor.

The government that cannot do anything for the state is trying to do politics with the Lord, the OPCC president added.

Pattanayak also accused the government of not being prepared to manage the huge throng of Havishayalis in Puri during the holy month of Kartik. He also warned of intensified demonstrations across the state if the government fails to address the issues raised by the party before the beginning of the holy month.

He said that the devotees are facing immense problems due to the reluctance to open all the four gates of the temple. He questioned the government’s decision not to open all the doors of the temple as the Covid pandemic has ended.

The Government has allowed the entry of devotees only through the lion gate in view of the pandemic restrictions.

Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati said the party’s first demand is to open four gates of the Jagannath temple for the Havishyalis and to open the Ratna Bhandar for inventory of valuable ornaments stored there.

The party also demanded the handing over of the land measuring 6000 acres occupied by Vendant Company following the order of Supreme Court and the proper rehabilitation of mutts, temples and houses demolished by the government for the beautification of the heritage city.

Congress has given the ultimatum to open the doors of the temple by October 28 else state-wide demonstrations will be organised.

The Chief Administrator of SJTA, Ranjan Kumar Das said that the memorandum will be forwarded to the Governor. Das also assured to take appropriate action after going through the demands.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Samir Mohanty criticised the government for not forming any committee for the opening of Ratna Bhandar and the conduct of inventorisation of jewellery.

He said the Shree Jagannath Temple Management committee has submitted a resolution to the high court as well as the state government on the issue on August 4 but nothing has been done yet.

The BJD leader Amar Satpathy has advised the opposition to not politicise the issue. He said that the government will follow the court directions and the Law Department is examining the court order.

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