Puri: The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is yet to have proper arrangement in place for storing surplus wood after the construction of chariots for the annual Rath Yatra.
Similarly, the temple administration does not have a shed or storehouse for the safe-keeping of wheels and other parts of chariots after the completion of the car festival.
As per Srimandir tradition, carpenters usually require 865 pieces of wood to construct the three chariots for Rath Yatra. The SJTA source the wood from Nayagarh and Khurda forest divisions for constructing chariots. Recently, the temple administration has started sourcing wood from Boudh forest division for the purpose, sources said.
It is learnt that the SJTA used to have some surplus wood after building the chariots. The carpenters usually utilise these surplus wood in the construction of chariots for the next year.
Earlier, the temple administration stored the surplus wood at Hatibari, a garden near the shrine. However, construction of a Bhakta Niwas (shelter house for devotees) has prevented the SJTA to store surplus wood at Hatibari .
Just a couple of years ago, the temple authorities had started storing surplus wood on a piece of Srimandir land at Old Jail Road. However, the SJTA is now constructing another Bhakta Niwas on the said plot.
“Huge quantities of surplus wood are rotting in the absence of a proper storeroom. The temple administration has turned a blind eye to the issue,” said a social activist.
In order to generate additional resources, the shrine authorities have decided to sell the wheels and other parts of chariots to interested parties after the culmination of Rath Yatra. As per the plan, the shrine authorities dismantle the chariots after the completion of Rath Yatra and store the wheels and other parts on the premises of the Srigundicha temple.
Private individuals and institutions can now purchase the chariot wheels and other parts by depositing the required amount of money.
According to sources, the SJTA has a glut of wheels and other parts of chariots due to poor demand. “The SJTA had fixed the price of a chariot wheel at Rs 50,000. Subsequently, the amount was reduced to Rs 25,000 in the wake of poor demand from people. Now, hundreds of wheels and other parts of chariots are decaying at Srigundicha temple due to poor storage facility. The temple administration should build a shed or storehouse for the safe keeping of surplus wood and dismantled chariots,” said a city-based intellectual.