Baripada: Servitors of the Jagannath temple at Baripada in Mayurbhanj district have decided to walk from here to Bhubaneswar to fulfil their demand for second Srikhetra status to the temple.
The Baripada Jagannath temple has its own distinct tradition during the Rath Yatra. It is celebrated for two days, but chariots are drawn a day after the Rath Yatra in Puri. Another specialty is that only women are allowed to pull the chariot of Devi Subhadra here.
People of Mayurbhanj have long been pressing for the status of second Srikhetra to the shrine, but the government is yet to meet the demand. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during the campaigning for the recently concluded General and Assembly elections had for the first time visited the temple April 25.
During his visit, servitors had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister who had assured them of looking into their demand.
“Elections are over. The government has been formed. We had made efforts to meet the Chief Minister, but it has not been possible till date,” the servitors said.
“If the assurance given by the Chief Minister is not fulfilled by June 17, we all servitors – Anga Sevak, Mandira Sevak and Ratha Sevak– have decided to start walking from 7 am June 19 from Baripada to Bhubaneswar,” they said.
A delegation of servitors led by Arun Kumar Mishra met Collector Vineet Bhardwaj, ADM Aboli Narwane and Baripada Sub-Collector Dibyajyoti Parida in this regard Tuesday.
The other demands of the servitors include appointment of an officer (of a magistrate rank) in the endowment department, filling of servitors at mutts and temples, streamlining of the management of mutts and temples and recovery of properties of mutts and temple, their reconstruction, daily remuneration of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 for servitors.