Puri Ratna Bhandar: Panel proposes Puri Ratna Bhandar inventory from July 14 | India News

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BHUBANESWAR: Uncertainty surrounding the valuables stored in Puri Jagannath Temple’s Ratna Bhandar, whose inventory was last conducted in 1978, may finally end with a committee recently constituted by the Mohan Majhi govt proposing on Tuesday that a fresh inventory of Ratna Bhandar be carried out from July 14.
“Our 16-member committee has proposed to kick-start the inventory, as well as conservation of the Ratna Bhandar simultaneously, on July 14.We are hopeful that the govt will approve the proposed date,” Justice Biswanath Rath, a retired judge of the Orissa high court and chairman of the committee, said.
Ratna Bhandar’s inventory and the issue of missing keys were key poll issues raised by BJP during the Odisha assembly elections.
The committee prepared a draft of standard operating procedures (SOP) to conduct the inventory. As per the SOP, items stored in the Ratna Bhandar would be shifted to a temporary place inside the shrine to enable the ASI to carry out repair and conservation work on the structure, which has developed cracks. Audit and inventory of the jewellery would be carried out at the same time by expert valuers and goldsmiths in the makeshift Ratna Bhandar amid tight security.
According to Justice (retired) Rath, the govt will select a team of experts, including goldsmiths and valuers, who can identify the types and nature of the jewellery.
“We may not go for valuation of the jewellery and ornaments. But, our priority is to know the nature of the ornaments, their character, and the presence of diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones,” Rath said.
The committee said the inventory would be a lengthy process. The last inventory of Ratna Bhandar’s valuables was carried out for 70 days, from May 13, 1978 to July 23, 1978. As per this inventory, 367 gold items including a necklace, a chain, and a crown weighing 4,360 bhari (1 bhari is about 12 grams) and 231 silver articles weighing 14,828 bhari were found in the inner chamber. At least 87 gold items weighing 8,470 bhari and 62 silver items weighing 7,321 bhari were found in the outer chamber of the Ratna Bhandar.
Currently, the deities are in Gundicha temple and will return to Jagannath Temple on Niladri Bije, on July 19.
“We have proposed that the normal darshan system and daily rituals should not be affected during the inventory and repair process. Devotees, though, may face certain restrictions and inconvenience while having darshan of the deities,” Rath said. Panel proposes Puri Ratna Bhandar inventory from July 14.

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