Odisha Sun Times Bureau
The Daitapati Nijog has rejected outright the amount offered by the Odisha government as compensation for their ‘losses’ during last year’s Rath Yatra.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) had handed over a letter to the secretary of the Daitapati Nijog which was rejected by the servitors’ body on Thursday.
Describing the state government’s offer of Rs 40 lakh as compensation to be ‘a drop in the ocean, the Daitapati Nijog has called for a meeting of the servitors’ body at the Radhaballav Mutt premises on February 14 to decide on its future course of action.
“During discussions at that time, the chief administrator of SJTA had assured us that the temple administration would pay us over and above what the government gives by way of compensation, From what I have heard from our fellow servitors and saw in the newspapers today, the government has apparently offered Rs 40 lakh as the compensation. It is not a pragmatic offer”, said Rama Krushna Das Mohapatra, President Daitapati Nijog.
“The Daitapatis have decided that we will conduct the Nabakalebar of the Lords as per our programme without taking a single paisa from the state government or the temple administration since we are the body protectors of the Lords. It is the Lord, who is sustaining us and will sustain us in the future,” said Rama Chandra Dasmohapatra, a senior Daitapati.
The government was yet to respond to the rejection.
The ‘loss’ claimed by the Daitapatis is on account of the fact that 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 gp atop the chariots.
Both the Shankaracharya and the court had asked the government to compensate the Daitapatis for their losses.
Meanwhile, preparations are in full swing for construction of mandaps/cottages for undertaking several secret rituals associated with Nabakalebar Yatra. These cottages will be named accordingly like yagna mandap, pratistha mandap, nyasa mandap, yagnashala, daru ghara, daru nirman kutir etc.
“A temporary shed is constructed almost in the middle of Koili Baikuntha inside the temple premises near the burial ground /Samadhi pitha of the Lords. All arrangements will be made for the purpose accordingly by the temple administration,” said Sudipta Chatterjee Information Officer, SJTA.
The state government today announced the dates of the different processes involved with the Nabakalebara Yatra. While the Banajaga Yatra will start on March 29, Akshya Trutiya and Chandan Yatra will be held on April 21, Debasnana Purnima and the snana vidhi of the new darus will be held on June 2, on June 15 the brahma of the old idols will be transferred to the newly carved idols, netrautsav of the Lords and nabajoubana darshana will be held on July 17 onJuly 18 will be held the Gundicha Yatra. Similarly, the Bahuda Yatra (or return car festival) will be held on July 26 and sunabesha on July 27 and on Niladribijay will be held on July 30.