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Panel extends date for Puri temple suggestions

CUTTACK: Citing poor public response, the Judicial Commission looking into functioning of Jagannath Temple in Puri on Monday extended the last date for receiving suggestions by one more month. Justice Bimal Prasad Das, retired High Court Judge who heads the Commission, had invited suggestions in the form of affidavits both from public as well as people associated with the temple through a notification on October 5.

“There has been a very poor response and only seven affidavits have been received so far. At least 200 affidavits should have been received by the panel by this time,’’ Justice Das said.

Unless people come forward with their opinions, suggestions and experiences concerning the temple, it will be an uphill task for the commission to reach any conclusion and give recommendations, he said and added that the deadline of November 4 for receiving affidavits has been extended till December 4.

To make the process hasslefree for public, the Commission has made several changes. ‘’Response in the form of affidavits will be no more mandatory. People can submit or send their suggestions and opinions either by writing it on paper or through email or registered post,’’ Justice Das informed.

The State Government on July 23 had appointed a one-man commission of inquiry to bring reforms in functioning of Puri Jagannath Temple following outrage over the attack on Puri Collector and delay in conducting Niladri Bije rituals of Lord Jagannath on July 17.

The Commission, which started functioning on September 29, was expected to submit its report within six months, suggesting measures for better administration and management of temple affairs. Speaking about the progress of the inquiry commission, Justice Das said letters have been sent seeking documents and evidences on temple fiascos from different functionaries and temple-related authorities. Besides setting up drop boxes at all 30 district headquarters, the Commission has also sought a report on details of temple property encroached or occupied illegally.

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