Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Mar 4:
Ahead of the Banajaga yatra of the Lords, an 11-member managing committee has been constituted to win over the dissenting servitors for smooth conduct of the forthcoming Nabakalebara festival in Odisha’s pilgrim town in Puri.
Besides, a five-member team of servitors’ has been formed to take along the sulking members of Daitapati Nijog (priests association) keeping in view the larger interest of the devotees.
The 11-member committee, thus formed, would oversee and ensure the pre Nabakalebara preparations till conclusion of the grand festival, sources said.
President, secretary, four Badagrahis and five senior and experienced members of the Daitapati Nijog are on-board the working group, sources added.
It is learnt that the resentment among the Daitapati Nijog has sunk for the time being and are expected to come out with the list of chosen servitors to participate in the Banajaga yatra-the search for daru (neem tree) for making of idols – in a couple of days.
The team would comprise Dalapati, Upadalapati, Biswabasu, Bidyapati, Badagrahi and other servitors of the nijog.
Based on the paraphernalia of the Banajaga yatra, the servitors’ body would place its demand for financial assistance before the administration.
The body is likely to seek Rs 2 lakh per participating member for the yatra, sources said.
With the state government yet to take a call on the payments due to servitors which was promised by the government during the last Rath Yatra, this issue is likely to rear its head during the meeting with administration for financial aid prior to the commencement of the yatra.
The Daitapatis were peeved over the parsimonious compensation offer made by the state government for losses suffered by them in last year’s Rath Yatra in which devotees were barred from climbing atop chariots following a High Court order which upheld the Shankaracharya’s views that persons other than those connected with rituals should not go atop the chariots.
Setting aside the differences and discrimination, the Daitapati Nijog has decided to conduct the Nabakalebara Yatra of the Lords in a disciplined and peaceful manner.
Notably, Daitapatis play a vital role in the entire Nabakalebara process beginning from the Banajaga Yatra to the transfer of the Bramha (the soul) of the idols.