Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Dec 7:
The managing committee of the Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s pilgrim town of Puri today decided to award scholarships to the children of sevayats (servitors) of the temple.
“It was decided at the meeting to give scholarships to children from sevayat families under a new scheme named Shree Mandir Chhatra Sikshya Bruti Yojana to encourage them to take up studies. Scholarship amounts will vary for students studying in different classes,” said Puri collector Aravind Agarwal at the end of the managing committee meeting.
Apart from reviewing the progress of projects undertaken for the Nabakalebar festival next year, the managing committee also decided to take up renovation and beautification of “Atharnala”, which is considered the gateway to Puri town. A decision was also taken to drain the ‘peja’ (excess water after cooking of rice which is drained out) from the Shree Jagannath temple kitchen to a location within the Dakshini Parswa Mutt premises and treat it there to help prevent pollution.
The meeting decided to hold discussions with the daitapatis for the smooth conduct of the Nabakalebar festival.
The meeting, chaired by the Puri king Gajapati Divya Singha Dev, decided to further study the issue of who, apart from the Gajapati Maharaja, can climb atop chariots during the Rath Yatra.
It also took a decision to take up with the government the issue of regularization of jobs of employees working in the temple on a temporary basis.
“It was decided to take up renovation and beautification of the entrance gate at Atharnala before Nabakalebara festival. The meeting also discussed the issue of a school especially for children of sevayats,” said Premananda Dashmohapatra, member of the managing committee representing the daitapatis.
Das Mohapatra made it clear that there was no discussions in the meeting on the promises made by the administration to compensate daitapatis for the loss of income due to the ban on devotees climbing the chariots during the last Rath Yatra. “We told the Gajapati about it and asked him to raise it with the RDC. He expressed his concern over the matter,” he said.