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BJP Demands Bhandar Opening

Bhubaneswar:Targeting the BJD Government over missing keys of Ratna Bhandar of Puri Srimandir, BJP on Thursday demanded reopening of the treasure trove of the shrine.

Holding a press conference here, BJP leader Pitambar Acharya said on April 3, 2018, on the order of the High Court, a large team of senior officials and architects entered the temple to inspect the Ratna Bhandar, but they did not have the key.

On April 4, the then District Collector Arvind Agarwal announced that the key to the treasure was not found, he said. Later, the Collector said a duplicate key of the Ratna Bhandar was found. It is yet to be proved whether the key found at a later stage is a duplicate key of the treasure trove or not, he added.

“The government is claiming it has a duplicate key of Ratna Bhandar for the last five years. I have serious doubts about the government’s claims. The government must clarify the public soon,” Acharya said.

Following hue and cry across the State, the Government had constituted a Commission of Inquiry under the leadership of Justice Raghubir Das. But, the Government is yet to make the report of the Commission public, Acharya said.

At least the Government should inform the people what steps it has taken as per the recommendations of the Commission, he said.  

For the last time in 1978, under the supervision of the then Governor, the treasury of Lord Jagannath Temple was opened, and an inventory was made. Since then, the Government is claiming that the Ratna Bhandar has never been reopened, the BJP leader said.

“Despite the order of the High Court, why has the Government not opened the treasure for 5 years? The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has clarified in the High Court that there is a threat to Ratna Bhandar and it needs to be repaired immediately,” he said.

Everyone is suspecting loot of valuables from Ratna Bhandar. If the Chief Minister and the State Government are really concerned at all about the safety of Shree Jagannath’s property, they should immediately open the Ratna Bhandar with the duplicate key, demanded Shri Acharya.

The BJP leader also demanded that the State Government should submit the report of Justice Raghubir Das Commission in the Assembly as soon as possible along with the action taken report.

Similarly, Congress Campaign Committee Chairman Bijay Patnaik also targeted the State Government raising questions over the existence of valuables inside Ratna Bhandar.

“It is the responsibility of the Government to make the Commission of Inquiry report public. The first principle of the 5T initiative is transparency. If the Government really believes in transparency, then the report should be made public.” Patnaik said.   

Reacting to BJP’s statement, BJD Spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said the BJP is telling imaginary stories to the people of Odisha.

“The Ratna Bhandar of the temple has not reopened for the last 38 years since 1985. Today’s statement of Acharya reveals cracks in the State BJP. Because, during 2000 to 2009, BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan was the Law Minister. So, the BJP indirectly blamed Harichandan for the non-opening of the Ratna Bhandar,” Mohanty said.

The opposition have a lot of issues to raise and they could put forth demands before the Centre. But, they are playing with the religious sentiment of people by raising sensitive issues, he added.