Puri: The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is yet to open a grievance cell at Anand Bazar, a designated place for sale and purchase of Mahaprasad, even though a decision in this regard was taken around a year ago.
Moreover, the temple administration has failed to fix the prices of Mahaprasad to regulate affairs at Anand Bazar.
In the absence of any mechanism to redress grievances, many devotees are allegedly facing misbehaviour at Anand Bazar and are being forced to pay high prices for Mahaprasad and other Prasads, sources said.
In August last year, the SJTA had announced a slew of measures to regulate affairs at Anand Bazar. It had decided to open a cell to redress the grievances of devotees with regard to the prices of Mahaprasad and other issues at Anand Bazar on Srimandir precincts.
As per the decision, the grievance cell would be jointly managed by the shrine administration and the Suar and Mahasuar Niyog of Srimandir. The SJTA had held a series of meetings with the Suar and Mahasuar servitors, who are primarily responsible for the preparation and sale of Mahaprasad.
However, the shrine administration has failed to open the grievance cell to save devotees from mistreatment, sources said.
It has been alleged that a Suar servitor hurled expletives at Sameer Sahu from Kendrapara while he was purchasing Mahaprasad from Anand Bazar a few days ago. According to sources, the Suar servitor abused Sahu when the latter refused to buy Mahaprasad from due to high prices.
“This is not an isolated incident. Many devotees are being forced to pay high prices for Mahaprasad. The devotees are also facing misbehaviour at Anand Bazar. The SJTA has turned a blind eye to these incidents,” said a source familiar with the issue.
On the other hand, the temple administration had facilitated cooking of Mahaprasad separately December 4 last year to estimate the cost of production of the Srimandir delicacies. It had announced to issue the rate chart in January this year by taking into account the cost of production. However, the SJTA is yet to keep its promise.
When contacted, Srimandir Managing Committee member Ananta Tiadi said the SJTA would soon initiate process to open the grievance cell at Anand Bazar.