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After SC order, SJTA advises devotees to donate only temple, not to servitors

Puri: The Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) stood tough following Supreme Court’s directives and advised the devotees to give their offerings or donations in any kind directly to the temple hundi and not to the servitors.

The devotees can give their donations to temple hundi, or SJTA office or information centres and obtained the money receipt. The Supreme Court orders will be apprised to all Nojogas of Sri Mandir, SJTA chief administrator said.

All the donations including 15 kg gold given by the devotees in last 23 years have been shifted to SBI lockers.

The Supreme Court on Friday had passed a slew of directions to prevent any such malpractices and mismanagement in Puri Jagannath temple.

It directed the Odisha government to study the management schemes of other important shrines such as Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir, Somnath temple in Gujarat, Golden Temple in Punjab, Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh and Dharamsthala temple in Karnataka.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Mrinalini Padhi that highlighted difficulties faced by devotees at the Jagannath Temple at Puri and their harassment or exploitation by the temple servitors.

The bench also sought a response from the Centre, the Odisha government and the temple’s management committee.

“It is of prime importance that all the visitors have hassle-free visits and the offerings made are utilised for righteous objects and not misappropriated in any manner by the staff/sevaks,” the bench said.

It directed that the staff or ‘sevaks’ ought to be duly compensated by the legitimate remuneration as may be determined by the authority concerned.

The top court also directed the administrator of the temple to review the arrangement of CCTV cameras that have been already installed and said video footage should be viewed by an independent committee.

It said the independent committee, which will view the CCTV footage at a regular interval, should submit its report to the district judge every month so that necessary directions can be issued.

The top court asked the administrator to ensure that no direct collection of offerings is made by any ‘sevak’ and all the offerings are made either in the ‘hundi’ or are deposited and accounted for and properly utilised”.

 

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