Hassle-free Rath Yatra will be key focus, says new SJTA chief

Bhubaneswar: A day after being appointed as the new chief of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration, Pradipta Mohapatra today said his prime focus will on upcoming Rath Yatra.

“I will work in coordination with the servitors and SJTA staff to ensure a hassle-free Rath Yatra this year. In 1998, I had been given the responsibility of Puri Collector, just one month before the Rath Yatra. I am yet to receive order from the government. I will further comment on the matter after taking over the charge,” Mohapatra told reporters.

“As I was associated with temple affairs earlier during my tenure as Puri Collector and RDC, I think that things will pass smoothly,” he added.

Amidst a state wide much hue and cry over missing key of Ratna Bhandar of sri Jagannath temple, Odisha government on Monday replaced Chief Administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Pradeep Kumar Jena with P K Mohapatra.

The change of guard in the administration of the 12th century shrine comes barely a month before the annual Rath Yatra, an official said.

Mohapatra, who is currently working as the principal secretary in the School and Mass Education department, has been given additional charge of chief administrator of SJTA, CMO official said.

Mohapatra had also served as Puri Collector and RDC.

The outgoing chief administrator had been in the post for over two years.

Mohapatra has been entrusted with the additional responsibility ahead of the annual Rath Yatra of lord Jagannath scheduled to be held on July 14.

Earlier on Sunday, Jena held a meeting of the servitors in presence of Puri district judge Ambuj Mohan Das, Collector Aravind Agarwal and SP Sarthak Sadangi in connection with the Supreme Court’s ruling to prevent exploitation of devotees by staff at the temple.

The servitors of the shrine may file an application before the Puri district judge if they have anything to say regarding the Supreme Court’s directions on June 8 to the temple management, Jena said after the meeting.

In its order, the apex court asked the Puri district judge to file an interim report by June 30 on the factual aspects such as difficulties faced by the devotees, exploitative practices and deficiencies in the management, if any.


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