By Deepak Kumar Rath
The famous Jagannath temple, Puri is receiving increasing number of religious tourists day by day and lakhs of pilgrims from allover the globe are congregating in the car festival. So the state government has number of plans to strengthen the Jagannath temple administration. In a telephonic interview to Organiser, State Law Minister Shri Bishwabhusan Harichandan informed that, ?the uniqueness of Shree Jagannath as the supreme deity of the universe cutting across all the religions, sects, castes, creed and colours should be kept intact and the administration must not emulate that of Tirupati or Vaishnodevi Shrine.
To make a beginning, Jagannath temple administration that is being headed by an administrator of a rank of joint secretary, would now be headed by chief administrator, not below the rank of a revenue divisional commissioner. Three administrators would now serve under him named, administrator, development, administrator, nitis (daily rituals) and administrator, security. Administrator, development would be an I.A.S of the rank of a joint secretary, administrator, nitis would be an O.A.S officer of the rank of joint secretary and administrator, security would be an I. P. S officer, the Law Minister informed.
Shri Harichandan was bent upon passing an elaborate and detailed act to strengthen the administration of Jagannath temple, which was long overdue. He took all pains to invite sevayats and servitors? fraternity for their opinions and suggestions. Shri Harichandan had discussed the proposals and suggestions in details about the temple with the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri. He after several rounds of talks and discussions with all concerned parties drafted the proposals and sent it to the department. The assembly unanimously applauded the move.
Another important aspect, that too, a vital one is augmenting the temple resources. The Law Minister informed that total land of Shri Jagannath temple inside the state stands at 53 thousand 457 acres and 121 decimals. 39 thousand 378 acres and 611decimal of land is under khas possession of the temple and 14 thousand 78 acres and 810 decimals of land has been encroached upon by different occupants. Outside the state, West Bengal has the largest chunk of temple land i.e. 322.93 acres, Maharashtra has 28.218 acres, Madhya Pradesh 26.81 acres, Andhra Pradesh 16.53 acres, Tamil Nadu has 11.885 acres and Uttar Pradesh has the ground floor of a two-storied building in lord Jagannath'sname. Law Minister says that he has already taken up this land matter with the other state governments and the lands in these states are in different stages of restoration to the temple authorities. Inside the state, occupants of the temple land for generations, would have to pay the premium at the present market value and for assessing the price of the land, two land committees have already been formed and are in operation. Special secretary, Law Department is the chairman of state land committee. Shri Harichandan informed that Shree Jagannath temple corpus fund has a deposit of 38 crores 57 lakhs 90 thousand 367 Rupees.