Puri: The Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) today clarified that only structural stability and safety of Sri Mandir’s Ratna Bhandar will be assessed during inspection by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) experts.
The temple administration further clarified that no estimation or inventory of valuables will be done during the inspection.
The decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of the sub-committee on Ratna Bhandar held here today.
“The High Court has ordered for examining the structural stability and safety of the Ratna Bhandar. I repeat again the order is for assessment/inspection of structural safety only. There is no order for estimating the valuables,” informed Pradip Kumar Jena, Chief Administrator SJTA speaking to reporters after the meeting.
Jena said there is no reason to surmise that since Ratna Bhandar would be opened for inspection an estimation of valuables stored in it will be undertaken.
“On the day of inspection, no material, valuables, precious ornaments etc stored in cupboards, almirahs would be touched. Only a visual inspection of the walls and roof of the Ratna Bhandar will be done,” he clarified.
The Chief Administrator further said that for opening Bhitara Ratna Bhandar special permission is required to be obtained from the State government and added that the temple administration has sought it.
“As per law the State government while according special permission can also impose certain limitations or conditions. We will also hold a meeting of the Chhattisa Nijog for wider consultation after we receive permission from the government. For the purpose, a detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) will be prepared which will be shared with the general public after which the inspection work will be executed,” Jena elaborated.
Earlier in the day, a team comprising of members from Sri Mandir’s core committee and ASI experts inspected the walls of the Ratna Bhandar from outside.
Notably, the Orissa High Court on March 22 had ordered the ASI to inspect the structural condition of the Ratna Bhandar on March 26 and 27 and submit a status report on March 29.
The Court’s directive had come in response to an affidavit filed by the SJTA Chief citing that inspection of the Ratna Bhandar was necessary before reopening of Jagamohana for the public. The ASI has claimed that repair of the Jagamohana has been completed and had prayed the court to open it for the devotees.